Cuba, Old and New
Albert Gardner Robinson

Part 2 out of 4

may have cost two thousand dollars or more. The operation of such a
contrivance, extending, from the rear of the wheels to the horse's nose,
for twenty feet or more, in the narrow streets of the old city, was a
scientific problem, particularly in turning corners.

Cuba was early in the field with a railway. In 1830, the United States
had only thirty-two miles of line, the beginning of its present enormous
system. Cuba's first railway was opened to traffic in November, 1837. It
was a forty-five mile line connecting Havana with the town of Guines,
southeast of the city. While official permission was, of course, necessary
before the work could be undertaken, it was in fact a Cuban enterprise, due
to the activity of the _Junta de Fomento_, or Society for Improvement. It
was built with capital obtained in London, the construction being in charge
of Mr. Alfred Cruger, an American engineer. Ten years later there were
nearly three hundred miles of line. At the beginning of the American
occupation, in 1899, there were about nine-hundred and fifty miles. There
are now more than 2,000 miles of public service line in operation, and in
addition there are many hundreds of miles of private lines on the sugar
estates. Several cities have trolley lines. For some years after the
American occupation, as before that experience, there was only a
water-and-rail connection, or an all-water route, between the eastern and
western sections of the island. The usual route from Havana to Santiago
was by rail to Batabano or to Cienfuegos, and thence by steamer. The
alternative was an all-water route, consuming several days, by steamer
along the north coast, with halts at different ports, and around the
eastern end of the island to the destination. It is now an all-rail run of
twenty-four hours. The project for a "spinal railway" from one end of
the island to the other had been under consideration for many years. The
configuration lent itself excellently to such a system, and not at all
well to any other. A railway map of such a system shows a line, generally,
through the middle of the island along its length, with numerous branch
lines running north and south to the various cities and ports on the coast.
The plan, broadly, is being carried out. A combination of existing lines
afforded a route to the city of Santa Clara. From these eastward, the Cuba
Company, commonly known as the Van Home road, completed a through line in
1902. In its beginning, it was a highly ambitious scheme, involving the
building of many towns along the way, the erection of many sugar mills, and
the creation of a commercial city, at Nipe Bay, that would leave Havana in
the back-number class. All that called for a sum of money not then and not
now available. But the "spinal railroad" was built, and from it a number of
radiating lines have been built, to Sancti Spiritus, Manzanillo, Nipe
Bay, and to Guantanamo. About the only places on the island, really worth
seeing, with the exception of Trinidad and Baracoa, can now be reached by a
fairly comfortable railway journey.

[Illustration: THE VOLANTE _Now quite rare_]

In most of the larger cities of the island, a half dozen or so of them, the
traveller is made fairly comfortable and is almost invariably well fed. But
any question of physical comfort in hotels, more particularly in country
hotels, raises a question of standards. As Touchstone remarked, when in the
forest of Arden, "Travellers must be content." Those who are not ready to
make themselves so, no matter what the surroundings, should stay at home,
which, Touchstone also remarked, "is a better place." If the standard is
the ostentatious structure of the larger cities of this country, with its
elaborate menu and its systematized service, there will doubtless be cause
for complaint. So will there be if the standard is the quiet, cleanly inn
of many towns in this country and in parts of Europe. The larger towns and
villages of the island have a _posada_ in which food and lodging may be
obtained; the smaller places may or may not have "a place to stay." Cuba
is not a land in which commercial travellers swarm everywhere, demanding
comfort and willing to pay a reasonable price for it. However, few
travellers and fewer tourists have any inclination to depart from known
and beaten paths, or any reason for doing so. Nor does a fairly thorough
inspection of the island necessitate any halting in out-of-the-way places
where there is not even an imitation of an inn. All that one needs to see,
and all that most care to see, can be seen in little tours, for a day, from
the larger cities. Yet if one wants to wander a little in the by-paths, it
is easy enough to do so.

What one sees or does in Cuba will depend mainly upon the purpose of the
visit, and upon the violence of the individual mania for seeing as many
places as possible. If the object is merely an excursion or an escape from
the rigors of a northern winter, there is no occasion for wandering out of
sight of the capital city. There is more to see and more to do in Havana
than there is in all the rest of the island. Nor is there much to be seen
elsewhere that cannot be seen in the immediate vicinity of that city. This,
of course, does not cover the matter of scenery. There are no mountains,
no forest jungles in that neighborhood, but forests in Cuba are not
particularly interesting, and even the mountains of Oriente are no more
beautiful or majestic than are our own summits, our own White Hills of New
Hampshire, the Adirondacks, the Blue Ridge, the Alleghenies, the Rockies,
and the Sierras. The charm of Cuba, and it is extremely charming, is not
its special "points of interest." It is rather a general impression, a
combination of soft and genial climate with varying lights and shades and
colors. Even after much experience there, I am not yet quite ready either
to admit or to deny that the island, taken as a whole, is either beautiful
or picturesque, and yet there is much of both. Attention is rarely
challenged by the sublime or the majestic, but is often arrested by
some play of light and shade. Cuban villages, with few exceptions, are
unattractive, although there is not infrequently some particular building,
usually a church, that calls for a second look or a careful examination.
Most of these little communities consist of a row of low and ungraceful
structures bordering the highway. They are usually extended by building on
at the ends. If the town street gets undesirably long, a second street or a
third will be made, on one or both sides of the main street, and thus the
town acquires breadth as well as length. The houses are built immediately
upon the roadside, and sidewalks are quite unusual. Nor, until the place
becomes a large town or a small city, is there, in most cases, any attempt
at decoration by means of shade trees. A tree may be left if there happened
to be one when the village was born, but rarely do the inhabitants turn
their streets into tree-shaded avenues. There would be an excellent
opportunity for the activities of Village Improvement Societies in Cuba, if
it were not for the fact that such tree-planting would involve pushing all
the houses ten or fifteen feet back from the roadside.

I have never studied the system of town building in the island, yet it is
presumable that there was some such system. In the larger places, there is
usually a central park around which are arranged the church, the public
buildings, and the stores. Whether these were so constructed from an
original plan, or whether they are an evolution, along a general plan, from
the long, single street, I do not know. I am inclined to believe that the
former was the case, and that it followed the location of a church. The
custom is, of course, of Spanish origin, and is common throughout the
greater part of Latin America. It finds a fair parallel in our own country
custom, by no means infrequent, of an open "green" or common in front
of the village church and the town hall. Tree-setting along the Cuban
highways, more particularly in the neighborhood of the cities, is not at
all unusual, and some of these shaded roads are exceedingly charming. Some
are entirely over-arched by laurel trees and the gorgeous _flamboyan_,
making long tunnels of shade "through whose broken roof the sky looks in."
Evidently the Spanish authorities were too much interested in making money
and enjoying themselves in the cities to care very much for what happened
to the Cubans in the villages, as long as they paid the money that filled
the official pocket and paid for the official entertainment, and the Cubans
were too busy getting that money to have much time for village improvement.
The Spaniards, following their home custom, might decorate a military
highway to some extent, but the rough trail over which the peasant carried
his little crop did not concern them. That was quite the business of the
peasant who had neither the time nor money to do anything about it.

The question of good roads in Cuba is very much what it is in this country.
Cuba needs more good roads than its people can afford to build; so does the
United States. At the time of the American occupation, in 1899, there were
only 160 miles of improved highway in the entire island. Of this, 85 miles
were in Havana Province, and 75 miles in Pinar del Rio. The remainder of
the island had none. Some work was done during the First Intervention
and more was done under the Palma government. At the time of the Second
Intervention, there were about 380 miles. That is, the United States and
the Cuban Republic built, in six years, nearly 40 per cent, more highway
than the Spanish authorities built in four hundred years. During the Palma
regime, plans were drawn for an extensive road system, to be carried out
as rapidly as the financial resources permitted. Not unlike similar
proceedings in this country, in river and harbor work and public
buildings, politics came into the matter and, like our own under similar
circumstances, each Congressman insisted that some of such work as could
immediately be undertaken, some of the money that could be immediately
spent, should benefit his particular district. The result was that what was
done by the Cubans was somewhat scattered, short stretches built here and
there, new bridges built when there might or might not be a usable road to
them. The Cuban plan involved, for its completion, a period of years and
a large appropriation. It called for comparatively small yearly
appropriations for many roads, for more than four hundred different
projects. Then came the Second Intervention, in 1906, with what has seemed
to many of us an utterly unwise and unwarranted expenditure for the
completion of certain selected projects included in the Cuban plan. It may
be granted that the roads were needed, some of them very much needed, but
there are thousands of miles of unconstructed but much needed roads in
the United States. Yet, in this country, Federal, State, county, and town
treasuries are not drained to their last dollar, and their credit strained,
to build those roads. From the drain on its financial resources, the island
will recover, but the misfortune appears in the setting of a standard for
Federal expenditure, in its total for all purposes amounting to about
$40,000,000 a year, far beyond the reasonable or proper bearing power of
the island. But the work was done, the money spent, and the Cubans were
committed to more work and to further expenditure. I find no data showing
with exactness the mileage completed by the Magoon government, which came
to an end in January, 1909, but a Cuban official report made at the end of
1910 shows that the combined activities of the respective administrations,
Spanish, American, and Cuban, had given the island, at that time,
practically a thousand miles of improved highway, distributed throughout
the island.

To see the real Cuba, one must get into the country. Havana is the
principal city, and for many it is the most interesting place on the
island, but it is no more Cuba than Paris is France or than New York is the
United States. The real Cuba is rural; the real Cuban is a countryman, a
man of the soil. If he is rich, he desires to measure his possessions in
_caballerias_ of 33-1/3 acres; if poor, in _hectareas_ of 2-1/2 acres. I do
not recall any Cuban cartoon representing the Cuban people that was not a
picture of the peasant, the _guajiro_. Cuba, as a political organism, is
shown as a quite charming _senorita_, but _el pueblo Cubano_, the Cuban
people, are shown as the man of the fields. With the present equipment
of railroads, trolley lines, automobile busses, and highways, little
excursions are easily made in a day. The railways, trolleys, and automobile
busses are unsatisfactory means of locomotion for sight-seeing. The
passenger is rushed past the very sights that would be of the greatest
interest. To most of us, a private hired automobile is open to the very
serious objection of its expensiveness, an item that may sometimes be
reduced by division. It has been my good fortune in more recent years to be
whirled around in cars belonging to friends but my favorite trip in earlier
days is, I presume, still open to those who may care to make it. I have
recommended it to many, and have taken a number with me over the route.

It is an easy one-day excursion of about sixty miles, by rail to Guanajay,
by carriage to Marianao, and return to Havana by rail. Morning trains
run to Guanajay, through a region generally attractive and certainly
interesting to the novice, by way of Rincon and San Antonio de los Banos, a
somewhat roundabout route, but giving a very good idea of the country, its
plantations, villages, and peasant homes. At Guanajay, an early lunch, or a
late breakfast, may be obtained at the hotel, before or after an inspection
of the town itself, a typical place with its little central park, its old
church, and typical residences. Inquiry regarding the transportation to
Marianao by carriage should not be too direct. It should be treated as a
mere possibility depending upon a reasonable charge. I have sometimes spent
a very pleasant hour in intermittent bargaining with the competitors for
the job, although knowing very well what I would pay and what they would
finally accept. Amiably conducted, as such discussions should be in
Cuba, the chaffering becomes a matter of mutual entertainment. A bargain
concluded, a start may be made about noon for a drive over a good road,
through a series of typical villages, to Marianao, in time for a late
afternoon train to Havana, reaching there in ample time for dinner. Along
the road from Guanajay to Marianao, Maceo swept with ruthless hand in
1896, destroying Spanish property. Here the Spaniards, no less ruthless,
destroyed the property of Cubans. It is now a region of peaceful industry,
and little or nothing remains to indicate its condition when I first saw
it. The little villages along the way were in ruins, the fields were
uncultivated, and there were no cattle. At intervals there stood the walls
of what had been beautiful country estates. Only one of many was left
standing. At intervals, also, stood the Spanish blockhouses. All along that
route, in 1906, were the insurrectos of the unfortunate experience of that
year. In the village of Caimito, a short distance from Guanajay, along that
road, I visited Pino Guerra at his then headquarters when he and his
forces so menaced Havana that Secretary Taft, in his capacity of Peace
Commissioner, ordered their withdrawal to a greater distance. The trip by
rail and road, exhibits most of Cuba's special characteristics. There are
fields of sugar cane and fields of tobacco, country villages and peasant
homes, fruits and vegetables, ceiba trees, royal palms, cocoanut palms, and
mango trees. There is no other trip, as easily made, where so much can be
seen. But there are other excursions in the vicinity, for many reasons best
made by carriage or by private hired automobile. Within fifteen miles or so
of the city, are places like Calvario, Bejucal, and Managua, all reached
by good highways through interesting and typical country, and all well
illustrating the real life of the real Cubans. It was in the vicinity of
those places that Maximo Gomez operated in 1895 and 1896, terrorizing
Havana by menacing it from the south and the east while Maceo threatened it
from the west. Another short and pleasant trip can be made around the head
of the harbor to Guanabacoa, and thence to Cojimar. Another interesting and
easily reached point is Guines, a good example of places of its size and

Of Cuba's larger cities, there are a score that would demand attention in a
guide-book. Just as there is a certain similarity in most American cities,
in that they are collections of business and residence buildings of
generally similar architecture, so is there a certain sameness in most of
Cuba's cities. To see two or three of them is to get a general idea of all,
although each has its particular features, some particular building, or
some special charm of surroundings. The most difficult of access are
Baracoa, the oldest city of the island, and Trinidad, founded only a few
years later. Glancing at some of these places, in their order from west
to east, the first is Pinar del Rio, a comparatively modern city, dating
really from the second half of the 18th Century. It owes its past and its
present importance to its location as a centre of the tobacco region of the
_Vuelta Abajo_. From comfortable headquarters here, excursions can be made,
by rail or road, through what is perhaps the most attractive, and not
the least interesting section of the island. To the north are the Organ
Mountains and the picturesque town of Vinales, one of the most charming
spots, in point of scenery, in Cuba. To the west, by rail, is Guane, the
oldest settlement in western Cuba, and all around are beautiful hills and
cultivated valleys. Eastward from Havana, the first city of importance is
Matanzas. Here is much to interest and much to charm, the city itself, its
harbor, its two rivers, the famous valley of the Yumuri, and the caves of
Bellamar. The city, founded in 1693, lies along the shore of the bay and
rises to the higher ground of the hills behind it. It lies about sixty
miles from Havana, and is easily reached by rail or by automobile. The
next city in order, also on the north coast, is Cardenas, a modern place,
settled in 1828, and owing its importance to its convenience as a shipping
port for the numerous sugar estates in its vicinity, an importance now
somewhat modified by the facilities for rail shipment to other harbors.
Seventy-five miles or so further eastward is Sagua la Grande, another point
of former convenience as a shipping point for sugar. The city itself is
located on a river, or estuary, some ten or twelve miles from its mouth.
Forty miles or so further on are Remedies and Caibarien, a few miles apart,
the latter on the coast and the former a few miles inland. Caibarien, like
Cardenas and Sagua, is chiefly notable as a sugar port, while Remedios is
the centre of one of the great tobacco districts, producing a leaf of good
quality but generally inferior to the _Partidos_ of Havana Province, and
quite inferior to the famous _Vuelta Abajo_. Southward of this region, and
about midway the width of the island, somewhat more than two hundred miles
eastward of Havana, is the city of Santa Clara, better known in the island
as Villa Clara. The city dates its existence from 1689. It lies surrounded
by rolling hills and expansive valleys, but in the absence of extensive
plantations in its immediate environs, one is led to wonder just why so
pleasant a place should be there, and why it should have reached its
present proportions. For the tourist who wants to "see it all," it is an
excellent and most comfortable central headquarters.

[Illustration: A VILLAGE STREET _Calvario, Havana Province_]

From Villa Clara it is only a short run to Cienfuegos, the "city of a
hundred fires," a modern place, only about a hundred years old. There is
every probability that Columbus entered the harbor in 1494, and perhaps
no less probability that Ocampo entered in 1508, on his voyage around the
island. The harbor extends inland for several miles, with an irregular
shore line, behind which rises a border line of hills. The city itself
is some four or five miles from the entrance to the harbor. It came into
existence, and still exists, chiefly by reason of the sugar business. It
is an important outlet for that industry, and many estates are in its near
vicinity. The old city of Trinidad is reached, by boat, from Cienfuegos, or
rather its port city, Casilda, is so reached. Presumably, it was the port
city that Velasquez founded in 1514, a location a few miles inland
being chosen later, as being less exposed to attacks by the pirates and
freebooters who infested the Caribbean Sea for many years. It is said that
Cortes landed here and recruited his forces on his way to Mexico, in 1518.
The city itself stands on the lower slopes of the hills that form its
highly effective background. Its streets are narrow and tortuous. Like most
of the cities of the island, and most of the cities of the world, it has
its humble homes of the poor, and its mansions of the rich. Immediately
behind it stands a hill with an elevation of about nine hundred feet above
sea-level. Its name indicates the reason for its application, _La Vigia_,
the "lookout," or the "watch-tower." From its summit, we may assume that
the people of earlier times scanned the horizon for any sign of approaching
pirates by whom they might be attacked. It serves a more satisfactory
purpose nowadays in that it affords one of the loveliest panoramic views to
be found anywhere in Cuba. Not far away, and accessible from the city, is
the Pico de Potrerillo, about 3,000 feet elevation, the highest point in
Central Cuba. Northeast of Trinidad, and reached by rail from Villa Clara,
is Sancti Spiritus, Trinidad's rival in antiquity, both having been
founded, by Velasquez, in the same year. Here also are narrow, crooked
streets in a city of no mean attractions, although it lacks the picturesque
charm of its rival in age. It is an inland city, about twenty-five miles
from the coast, but even that did not protect it from attack by the
pirates. It was several times the victim of their depredations.



The next city, eastward, is Camaguey, in many ways doubtless the best
worth a visit, next to Havana, of any city on the island. It is a place
of interesting history and, for me personally, a place of somewhat mixed
recollections. The history may wait until I have told my story. I think
it must have been on my third visit to the island, early in 1902. On my
arrival in Havana, I met my friend Charles M. Pepper, a fellow laborer in
the newspaper field. He at once informed me that he and I were to start the
next morning for a three or four weeks' journey around the island. It was
news to me, and the fact that my baggage, excepting the suitcase that I
carried, had failed to come on the boat that brought me, led me to demur.
My objections were overruled on the ground that we could carry little
baggage anyway, and all that was needed could be bought before starting, or
along the way. The next morning saw us on the early train for Matanzas. We
spent a week or ten days in that city, in Cardenas, Sagua, Santa Clara, and
Cienfuegos, renewing former acquaintance and noting the changes effected by
the restoration from the war period. That was before the completion of the
Cuba Railway. To get to Camaguey, then known as Puerto Principe, we took
the steamer at Cienfuegos and journeyed along the coast to Jucaro. There,
because of shallow water, we were dropped into a shore boat some four or
five miles from the coast, and there our troubles began. Fortunately, it
was early morning. We got something to eat and some coffee, which is almost
invariably good in Cuba, but when we meet nowadays we have a laugh over
that breakfast at Jucaro. I don't know, and really don't care, what the
place is now. After some hours of waiting, we secured passage in an
antiquated little car attached to a freight train carrying supplies and
structural material to Ciego de Avila, for use by the railway then being
built in both directions, eastward and westward from that point. The line
that there crosses the island from north to south was built in the time
of the Ten Years' War (1868-1878) as a barrier against the revolutionists
operating in eastern Cuba. It was restored for use in the revolution of
1895, but its blockhouses at every kilometre, and its barbed wire tangles,
were entirely ineffective against Gomez and Maceo and other leaders, all of
whom crossed it at their own sweet will, although not without an occasional
vicious little contest. We reached Ciego de Avila soon after noon, and had
to wait there over night for a further advance. The place is now a thriving
little city, but it was then a somewhat sprawling village with a building
that was called a hotel. But we got food and drink and beds, all that is
really necessary for experienced campaigners. For the next two days, Old
Man Trouble made himself our personal companion and did not lose sight of
us for a single minute.

Through personal acquaintance with the railway officials, we obtained
permission to travel over the line, on any and all trains, as far as it was
then built, some forty miles or so toward Camaguey. Through them, also, we
arranged for saddle horses to meet us at railhead for the remainder of the
journey. There were no trains except construction trains carrying rails,
ties, lumber, and other materials. We boarded the first one out in the
morning. We had our choice of riding on any of those commodities that we
might select. There was not even a caboose. We chose a car of lumber as the
most promising. For four or five hours we crawled through that country,
roasting and broiling on that pile of planks, but the ties and the rails
were even hotter. The only way we could keep a place cool enough to sit on
was by sitting on it. I once occupied a stateroom next to the steamer's
funnel. I have seen, day after day, the pitch bubble between the planks of
a steamer's deck in the Indian Ocean. I have been in other places that I
thought plenty hot enough, but never have I been so thoroughly cooked as
were my companion and I perched on the lumber pile. On top of that, or
rather on top of us, there poured a constant rain of cinders from the
locomotive puffing away a few cars ahead of us. The road-bed was rough, and
at times we had to hang on for our very lives. We can laugh about it now,
but, at the time, it was no joke. At last we reached the end of the line,
somewhere in a hot Cuban forest, but there were no horses. We watched the
operation of railway building, and took turns in anathematizing, in every
language of which we had any knowledge, the abandoned ruffian who failed to
appear with those horses. Before night, we were almost ready to wish that
he had died on the way. At last he came. Our baggage was loaded on a
pack-horse; we mounted and rode gallantly on our way. We had about thirty
miles to cover by that or some other means of locomotion. Before we had
gone a mile, we developed a clear understanding of the reasons for the sale
of those horses by the Government of the United States, but why the United
States Army ever bought them for cavalry mounts we could not even imagine.
There was no road. Most of the way we followed the partly constructed
road-bed for the new railway, making frequent detours, through field or
jungle, to get around gaps or places of impossible roughness. Before we had
covered two miles, we began to wish that the man who sent those horses, a
Spaniard, by the way, might be doomed to ride them through all eternity
under the saddles with which they were equipped. We were sorry enough for
the poor brutes, but sorrier still for ourselves. For several days, I
limped in misery from a long row of savage blisters raised on my leg
by rawhide knots with which my saddle had been repaired. An hour after
starting, we were overtaken by a heavy thunder-shower. At nightfall, after
having covered about fifteen wretched miles, we reached a construction camp
where an American nobleman, disguised as a section-boss, gave us food and
lodging in the little palm-leaf shack that served as his temporary home. It
was barely big enough for one, but he made it do for three.

[Illustration: STREET AND CHURCH _Camaguey_]

Early in the morning, we resumed our journey, plodding along as best we
could over a half-graded "right-of-way." A couple of hours brought us to
a larger construction camp where we halted for such relief as we could
secure. We then were some twelve or fourteen miles from our destination. We
discussed the wisdom of making the rest of the way on foot, as preferable
to that particular kind of saddle-work, leaving our baggage to come along
with the horses when it might. But fortune smiled, or it may have been just
a grimace. Word came that a team, two horses and a wagon, would go to the
city that afternoon, and there would be room for us. We told our pilot,
the man with the horses, just what we thought of him and all his miserable
ancestors, gave him a couple of _pesos_, and rejoiced over our prospects of
better fortune. But it proved to be only an escape from the fire into
the frying-pan. I have driven over many miles of South African _veldt_,
straight "across lots," in all comfort, but while the general topography of
Camaguey puts it somewhat into the _veldt_ class, its immediate surface
did not in the least remind me of the South African plateau. The trip was
little short of wonderful for its bumpiness. We got to Camaguey sore and
bruised but, as far as we could discover, physically intact, and, having
arrived, may now return to its history and description. May no "gentle
reader" who scans these pages repeat our experience in getting there. It
is supposed that here, or immediately here-about, was the place of "fifty
houses and a thousand people" encountered by the messengers of Columbus,
when he sent them inland to deliver official letters of introduction to the
gorgeous ruler of the country in which he thought he was. Different writers
tell different stories about the settlement of the place, but there is no
doubt that it was among the earliest to be settled. Columbus gave to a
harbor in that vicinity, in all probability the Bay of Nuevitas, the name
Puerto del Principe, or Port of the Prince. He called the islands of the
neighborhood the Gardens of the King. On that bay, about 1514, Diego
Velasquez founded a city, probably the present Nuevitas, which he is said
to have called Santa Maria. Somewhere from two to ten years later, an
inland settlement was made. This developed into the city that was afterward
given the name of Santa Maria del Puerto del Principe, now very properly
changed to the old Indian name of Camaguey.

If the idea of an inland location was, as it is said to have been,
protection against pirates and buccaneers, it was not altogether a
success. The distinguished pirate, Mr. Henry Morgan, raided the place very
effectively in 1668, securing much loot. In his book, published in 1871,
Mr. Hazard says: "Puerto Principe (the present Camaguey) is, probably, the
oldest, quaintest town on the island,--in fact, it may be said to be a
finished town, as the world has gone on so fast that the place seems a
million years old, and from its style of dress, a visitor might think he
was put back almost to the days of Columbus." There have been changes
since that time, but the old charm is still there, the narrow and crooked
streets, forming almost a labyrinth, the old buildings, and much else that
I earnestly hope may never be changed. There is now an up-to-date hotel,
connected with the railway company, but if I were to go there again and the
old hotel was habitable, I know I should go where I first stayed, and where
we occupied a huge barrack-like room charged on our bill as "_habitaciones
preferentes_," the state chamber. It had a dirty tiled floor, and was the
home of many fleas, but there was something about it that I liked. I do not
mean to say that all of Camaguey, "the city of the plain," is lovely, or
picturesque or even interesting. No more is all of Paris, or Budapest,
or Amsterdam, or Washington. They are only so in some of their component
parts, but it is those parts that remain in the memory. The country around
the city is a vast plain, for many years, and still, a grazing country, a
land of horses and cattle. The charm is in the city itself. If I could see
only one place outside of Havana, I would see Camaguey. A little less than
fifty miles to the north is Nuevitas, reached by one of the first railways
built in Cuba, now if ever little more than the port city for its larger
neighbor. Columbus became somewhat ecstatic over the region. Perhaps it was
then more charming, or the season more favorable, than when I saw it. I
do not recall any feeling of special enthusiasm about its scenic charms.
Perhaps I should have discovered them had I stayed longer. Perhaps I should
have been more impressed had it not been for the impressions of Camaguey. I
saw Nuevitas only briefly on my way eastward on that memorable excursion by
construction train and saddle. The only route then available was by boat
along the north shore, and it was there that we caught the steamer for

That sail along the coast would have afforded greater pleasure had it
lacked the noisy presence of an itinerant opera company whose members
persisted, day and night, in exercising their lungs to the accompaniment of
an alleged piano in the cabin. I have a far more pleasant recollection, or
rather a memory because it stays with me, of music in those waters. The
transport on which I went to Porto Rico, in the summer of 1898, carried,
among other troops, a battery of light artillery. It had an unusually good
bugler, and his sounding of "taps" on those soft, starlit nights remains
with me as one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard. The shrieks,
squalls, and roars of those opera people were in a wholly different class.
About seventy-five miles east of Nuevitas is Gibara, merely a shipping port
for the inland city of Holguin. The former is only one of a number of such
places found along the coast. Most of them are attractive in point of
surrounding scenery, but little or not at all attractive in themselves,
being mere groups of uninteresting structures of the conventional type.
Holguin is perhaps two hundred years old, quite pleasantly situated, but
affording no special points of interest for the tourist. The city is now
easily reached by a branch of the Cuba Railway. It is worth the visit of
those who "want to see it all." Beyond Gibara is Nipe Bay, not improbably
the first Cuban harbor entered by Columbus. Nipe Bay and its near neighbor,
Banes Bay, are the centres of what is now the greatest industrial activity
of any part of the island. Here, recent American investment is measured in
scores of millions of dollars. Here, in the immediate neighborhood, are
some of the largest sugar plantations and mills on the island, the Boston
and the Preston. A little to the west of Gibara are two others, Chaparra
and Delicias. Hitherto, the western half of the island has been, the great
producing district, but present indications point to a not distant time
when the eastern district will rival and, it may be, outstrip the section
of older development. The foundation is already laid for an extensive
enterprise. Nature has afforded one of the finest land-locked harbors in
the world at Nipe, and another, though smaller, a few miles away, at Banes.
The region now has railroad connection with practically all parts of the
island. Around those bays are sugar lands, tobacco lands, fruit lands, and
a few miles inland are the vast iron ore beds that, as they are developed,
will afford employment for an army of workmen. Nipe Bay is the natural
commercial outlet for a vast area of richly productive soil. At present,
the region affords nothing of special interest except its industrial
activities, its miles and miles of sugar cane, its huge mills, and the
villages built to house its thousands of workmen.

Seventy-five miles or so eastward of Nipe, lies one of the most charming
and interesting spots on the island. This is old Baracoa, the oldest
settlement on the island, now to be reached only by water or by the
roughest of journeys over mountain trails. The town itself does not amount
to much, but the bay is a gem, a little, circular basin, forest-shaded to
its border, its waters clear as crystal. Behind it rise the forest-clad
hills, step on step, culminating in _el Yunque_, "the anvil," with an
elevation of about eighteen hundred feet. Baracoa is supposed to be the
place about which Columbus wrote one of his most glowing and extravagant
eulogies. Whether it is really worth the time and the discomfort of a
special trip to see it, is perhaps somewhat doubtful. It is a place of
scenery and sentiment, and little else. There is an old fort on a hilltop,
not particularly picturesque, and an old church in which is a cross quite
doubtfully reported as having been furnished by Columbus. Sometime, years
hence, there will be easier communication, and the fertile hillsides and
still more fertile valleys will supply various produces for consumption in
the United States. About twenty-five miles east of Baracoa is the end of
the island, Cape Maisi. Swinging around that, the coasting steamers turn
due west along the shore to Santiago, passing the harbor of Guantanamo,
with its United States naval station. That place is reached by rail from
Santiago, a highly picturesque route through the Guantanamo valley. Besides
the naval station, the place is a shipping port, affording nothing of
special interest to the traveller who has seen other and more easily
accessible cities of its type. It always seems to me that Santiago, or more
properly Santiago de Cuba, would be more engaging if we could forget the
more recent history of this city, known to most Cubans as Cuba (pronounced
Cooba). No doubt, it is a much better place in which to live than it was
twenty years ago, and much of its old charm remains. Its setting cannot
be changed. It is itself a hillside town, surrounded by hills, with real
mountains on its horizon. The old cathedral, a dominant structure, has
been quite a little patched up in recent years, and shows the patches. The
houses, big and little, are still painted in nearly all the shades of the
spectrum. But there is a seeming change, doubtless psychological rather
than physical. One sees, in imagination, Cervera's squadron "bottled up" in
the beautiful harbor, while Sampson's ships lie outside waiting for it to
come out. It is difficult to forget San Juan Hill and El Caney, a few
miles behind the city, and remember only its older stories. A good deal of
history has been made here in the last four hundred years. Its pages
show such names as Velasquez, Grijalva, Hernan Cortes, and Narvaez, and
centuries later, Cespedes, Marti, and Palma. Here was enacted the grim
tragedy of the _Virginius_, and here was the conflict that terminated
Spain's once vast dominion in the western world. My own impression is
that most of its history has already been written, that it will have no
important future. As a port of shipment, I think it must yield to the new
port, Nipe Bay, on the north coast. It is merely a bit of commercial logic,
the question of a sixty-mile rail-haul as compared with a voyage around the
end of the island. Santiago will not be wiped from the map, but I doubt its
long continuance as the leading commercial centre of eastern Cuba. It is
also a fairly safe prediction that the same laws of commercial logic will
some day operate to drain northward the products of the fertile valley of
the Cauto, and the region behind old Manzanillo and around the still older

[Illustration: COBRE _Oriente Province_]

Except the places earlier mentioned, Jucaro, Trinidad and Cienfuegos, there
are no southern ports to the west until Batabano is reached, immediately
south of, and only a few miles from, the city of Havana. It is a shallow
harbor, of no commercial importance. It serves mainly as the centre of a
sponge-fishing industry, and as a point of departure for the Isle of Pines,
and for ports on the south coast. The Isle of Pines is of interest for a
number of reasons, among which are its history, its mineral springs, its
delightful climate, and an American colony that has made much trouble
in Washington. Columbus landed there in 1494, and gave it the name _La
Evangelista_. It lies about sixty miles off the coast, almost due south
from Havana. Between the island and the mainland lies a labyrinth of islets
and keys, many of them verdure-clad. Its area is officially given as 1,180
square miles. There seems no doubt that, at some earlier time, it formed a
part of the main island, with which it compares in geologic structure and
configuration. It is now, in effect, two islands connected by a marsh; the
northern part being broken and hilly, and the southern part low, flat, and
sandy, probably a comparatively recently reclaimed coralline plain. The
island has been, at various times, the headquarters of bands of pirates, a
military hospital, a penal institution, and a source of political trouble.
It is now a Cuban island the larger part of which is owned by Americans. It
is a part of the province of Havana, and will probably so remain as long as
Cuba is Cuba. My personal investigations of the disputed question of the
political ownership of the island began early in 1899. I then reached a
conclusion from which I have not since seen any reason to depart. The
island was then, had always been, and is now, as much a part of Cuba as
Long Island and Key West have been and are parts of the United States.

Just who it was that first raised the question of ownership, none of us who
investigated the matter at the time of its particular acuteness, was
able to determine satisfactorily, although some of us had a well-defined
suspicion. The man is now dead, and I shall not give his name. Article I,
of the Treaty of Paris, of December 10, 1898, presumably disposes of the
Cuban area; Article II refers to Porto Rico; and Article III refers to the
Philippines. The issue regarding the Isle of Pines was raised under
Article II, presumably referring only to Porto Rico. A slight but possibly
important difference appears in the Spanish and the English versions. The
English text reads that "Spain cedes ... the island of Porto Rico and other
islands now under Spanish sovereignty" etc. The Spanish text, literally
translated runs: "Spain cedes ... the island of Porto Rico and the others
that are now under its sovereignty." The obvious reference of the article
is to Mona, Viequez, and Culebra, all small islands in Porto Rican waters.
But the question was raised and was vigorously discussed. An official map
was issued showing the island as American territory. Americans jumped
in, bought up large tracts, and started a lively real estate boom. They
advertised it widely as American territory, and many put their little
collections of dollars into it. The claim of Spanish cession was afterward
denied in the very document that served to keep the issue alive for a
number of years. Article VI of the Platt Amendment, which the Cubans
accepted with marked reluctance, declared that the island was omitted from
the boundaries of Cuba, and that the title and ownership should be left to
future adjustment by treaty. But no alternative appears between cession and
no cession. Had the island become definitely American territory by cession,
its alienation, by such a step, would not have been possible. When we left
Cuba, in 1902, the official instructions from Washington were that the Isle
of Pines would remain under a _de facto_ American government. President
Palma, accepting the transfer, expressed his understanding that it would
"continue _de facto_ under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Cuba." In
some way, the departing American authority failed to leave any agent or
representative of the _de facto_ government of the United States, and the
Cubans included the island in their new administration, very properly. When
the treaty proposed by the Platt Amendment came before the United States
Senate, it hung fire, and finally found lodgment in one of the many
pigeon-holes generously provided for the use of that august body. There it
may probably be found today, a record and nothing more. Why? For the very
simple reason that some of the resident claimants for American ownership
sent up a consignment of cigars made on the island from tobacco grown on
the island, and refused to pay duty on them. The ground of refusal was that
they were a domestic product, sent from one port in the United States to
another port in the same country, and therefore not dutiable. The case of
Pearcy _vs_ Stranahan, the former representing the shippers, and the latter
being the Collector of the Port of New York, came before the Supreme Court
of the United States, and that final authority decided and declared that
the Isle of Pines was Cuban territory and a part of Cuba. The question is
settled, and the Isle of Pines can become territory of the United States
only by purchase, conquest, or some other form of territorial transfer.

While the American settlers in the Isle of Pines, and the several
real-estate companies who seek purchasers for their holdings, own a large
part of the territory, they still constitute a minority of the population.
Many of the settlers, probably most of them, are industrious and persistent
in their various productive activities. Their specialty is citrus fruits,
but their products are not limited to that line. More than a few have tried
their little experiment in pioneering, and have returned to their home land
more or less disgusted with their experience. Those who have remained,
and have worked faithfully and intelligently, have probably done a little
better than they would have done at home. The great wealth for which all,
doubtless, earnestly hoped, and in which many, doubtless, really believed,
has not come. This settlement is only one of many speculative exploitations
in Cuba. Some of these have been fairly honest, but many of them have been
little better than rank swindles. Many have been entirely abandoned, the
buyers losing the hard-earned dollars they had invested. Others, better
located, have been developed, by patience, persistence, and thrift, into
fairly prosperous colonies. I do not know how many victims have been
caught by unscrupulous and ignorant promoters in the last fifteen years,
principally in the United States and in Canada, but they are certainly
many, so many that the speculative industry has declined in recent years.
Many of the settlers who have remained have learned the game, have
discovered that prosperity in Cuba is purchased by hard work just as it is
elsewhere. In different parts of the island, east, west, and centre, there
are now thrifty and contented colonists who have fought their battle, and
have learned the rules that nature has formulated as the condition of
success in such countries. Whether these people have really done any better
than they would have done had they stayed at home and followed the rules
there laid down, is perhaps another question. At all events, there are
hundreds of very comfortable and happy American homes in Cuba, even in the
Isle of Pines, where they persist in growling because it is Cuba and not
the United States.

In a review of a country including forty-four thousand square miles of
territory, condensed into two chapters, it is quite impossible to include
all that is worth telling. Moreover, there is much in the island of which
no adequate description can be given. There is much that must be seen if it
if to be fairly understood and appreciated.



IN his message to Congress, on December 5, 1898, President McKinley
declared that "the new Cuba yet to arise from the ashes of the past must
needs be bound to us by ties of singular intimacy and strength if its
enduring welfare is to be assured."

Probably to many of the people of the United States, the story of our
relations with Cuba had its beginning with the Spanish-American war.
That is quite like a notion that the history of an apple begins with its
separation from the tree on which it grew. The general history of the
island is reviewed in other chapters in this volume. The story of our
active relations with Cuba and its affairs runs back for more than a
hundred years, at least to the days of President Thomas Jefferson who,
in 1808, wrote thus to Albert Gallatin: "I shall sincerely lament Cuba's
falling into any other hands but those of its present owners." Several
other references to the island appear at about that time. Two great
movements were then going on. Europe was in the throes of the Napoleonic
disturbance, and for more than twenty-five years both France and England
schemed, sometimes openly and sometimes secretly, for the possession of
Cuba. The other movement was the revolution in Spain's colonies in the
Western Hemisphere, a movement that cost Spain all of its possessions in
that area, with the exception of Cuba and Porto Rico. The influence of the
revolutionary activities naturally extended to Cuba, but it was not until
after 1820 that matters became dangerously critical. From that time until
the present, the question of Cuba's political fate, and the question of our
relations with the island, form an interesting and highly important chapter
in the history of the United States as well as in the history of Cuba.

In his book on the war with Spain, Henry Cabot Lodge makes a statement that
may seem curious to some and amazing to others. It is, however, the opinion
of a competent and thoroughly trained student of history. He writes thus:

"The expulsion of Spain from the Antilles is merely the last and final step
of the inexorable movement in which the United States has been engaged for
nearly a century. By influence and by example, or more directly, by arms
and by the pressure of ever-advancing settlements, the United States drove
Spain from all her continental possessions in the Western Hemisphere, until
nothing was left to the successors of Charles and Philip but Cuba and Porto
Rico. How did it happen that this great movement stopped when it came to
the ocean's edge? The movement against Spain was at once national
and organic, while the pause on the sea-coast was artificial and in
contravention of the laws of political evolution in the Americas. The
conditions in Cuba and Porto Rico did not differ from those which had gone
down in ruin wherever the flag of Spain waved on the mainland. The Cubans
desired freedom, and Bolivar would fain have gone to their aid. Mexico and
Colombia, in 1825, planned to invade the island, and at that time invasion
was sure to be successful. What power stayed the oncoming tide which had
swept over a continent? Not Cuban loyalty, for the expression 'Faithful
Cuba' was a lie from the beginning. The power which prevented the
liberation of Cuba was the United States, and more than seventy years later
this republic has had to fight a war because at the appointed time she set
herself against her own teachings, and brought to a halt the movement she
had herself started to free the New World from the oppression of the Old.
The United States held back Mexico and Colombia and Bolivar, used
her influence at home and abroad to that end, and, in the opinion of
contemporary mankind, succeeded, according to her desires, in keeping Cuba
under the dominion of Spain."

For a number of years, Cuba's destiny was a subject of the gravest concern
in Washington. Four solutions presented themselves; first, the acquisition
of Cuba by the United States; second, its retention by Spain; third,
its transfer to some power other than Spain; fourth, its political
independence. That the issue was decided by the United States is shown by
all the history of the time. While other factors had their influence in the
determination, it is entirely clear that the issue turned on the question
of slavery. In his book on _Cuba and International Relations_, Mr. Callahan
summarizes his review of the official proceedings by saying that "the South
did not want to see Cuba independent _without_ slavery, while the North did
not want to annex it _with_ slavery." In his work on the _Rise and Fall of
the Slave Power in America_, Mr. Henry Wilson declares that "thus clearly
and unequivocally did this Republic step forth the champion of slavery, and
boldly insist that these islands should remain under the hateful despotism
of Spain, rather than gain their independence by means that should inure to
the detriment of its cherished system. Indeed, it (the United States) would
fight to fasten more securely the double bondage on Cuba and the slave."

From this point of view, unquestionably correct, it is altogether evident
that the United States assumed responsibility for Cuba's welfare, not by
the intervention of 1898, but by its acts more than seventy years earlier.
The diplomatic records of those years are filled with communications
regarding the island, and it was again and again the subject of legislation
or proposed legislation. President after President dealt with it in
messages to Congress. The acquisition of the island, by purchase or
otherwise, was again and again discussed. Popular interest was again and
again excited; the Spanish colonial policy was denounced; and the burdens
and sufferings of the Cubans were depicted in many harrowing tales. For the
policy that led to the imposition of a restraining hand on proposals to
free Cuba, in those early days, the people of the United States today must
blush. The independence movement in the States of Spanish-America may be
said to have had its definite beginning in 1806, when Francisco Miranda,
a Venezuelan, sailed from New York with three ships manned by American
filibusters, although the first land battle was fought in Bolivia, in 1809,
and the last was fought in the same country, in 1825. But the great wave
swept from the northern border of Mexico to the southernmost point of
Spanish possession. When these States declared their independence, they
wrote into their Constitutions that all men should be free, that human
slavery should be abolished forever from their soil. The attitude of the
United States in the matter of Cuba was determined by the objection to the
existence of an anti-slavery State so near our border. The experience of
Haiti and Santo Domingo was, of course, clearly in mind, but the objection
went deeper than that. Those who are interested may read with profit the
debates in the Congress of the United States, in 1826, on the subject of
the despatch of delegates to the so-called Panama Congress-of that year. On
the whole, it is not pleasant reading from any present point of view.

Our cherished Monroe Doctrine was one of the fruits of this period, and in
the enunciation of that policy the affairs of Cuba were a prominent if not
the dominant force. The language of this doctrine is said to have been
written by Secretary Adams, but it is embodied in the message of President
Monroe, in December, 1823, and so bears his name. In April, of that year,
Secretary Adams sent a long communication to Mr. Nelson, then the American
Minister to Spain. For their bearing on the Cuban question, and for the
presentation of a view that runs through many years of American policy,
extracts from that letter may be included here.

WASHINGTON, April 28, 1823.

"In the war between France and Spain, now commencing, other interests,
peculiarly ours, will, in all probability, be deeply involved. Whatever may
be the issue of this war, as between these two European powers, it may be
taken for granted that the dominion of Spain upon the American continent,
north and south, is irrecoverably gone. But the islands of Cuba and Porto
Rico still remain nominally, and so far really, dependent upon her, that
she possesses the power of transferring her own dominion over them,
together with the possession of them, to others. These islands, from their
local position are natural appendages to the North American continent,
and one of them, Cuba, almost in sight of our shores, from a multitude of
considerations, has become an object of transcendant importance to the
commercial and political interests of our Union. Its commanding position,
with reference to the Gulf of Mexico and the West India seas; the character
of its population; its situation midway between our southern coast and
the island of St. Domingo; its safe and capacious harbor of the Havana,
fronting a long line of our shores destitute of the same advantage; the
nature of its productions and of its wants, furnishing the supplies and
needing the returns of a commerce immensely profitable and mutually
beneficial,--give it an importance in the sum of our national interests
with which that of no other foreign territory can be compared, and little
inferior to that which binds the different members of this Union together.
Such, indeed, are the interests of that island and of this country, the
geographical, commercial, moral, and political relations, that, in looking
forward to the probable course of events, for the short period of half
a century, it is scarcely possible to resist the conviction that the
annexation of Cuba to our federal republic will be indispensable to the
continuance and integrity of the Union itself."

The communication proceeds to relate the knowledge of the Department that
both Great Britain and France were desirous of securing possession and
control of the island, and to disclaim, on the part of the United States,
all disposition to obtain possession of either Cuba or Porto Rico.
The complications of the situation became increasingly serious, more
particularly with regard to Cuba, and on December 2, of that year (1823),
President Monroe issued his message carrying the "doctrine," which may be
given thus:

"In the wars of the European powers in matters relating to themselves we
have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy to do so.
It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent
injuries or make preparations for our defense. With the movements in this
hemisphere we are of necessity more immediately connected. We owe it,
therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the
United States and those powers (of Europe) to declare that we should
consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion
of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing
colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and
shall not interfere. But with the Governments that have declared their
independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have recognized,
we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or
controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any
other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward
the United States."

From this time onward, Cuba appears as an almost continuous object of
special interest to both the people and the officials of the United States.
Notwithstanding this disclaimer of President Monroe's message, the idea
of the acquisition of the island, by the United States, soon arose. It
persisted through all the years down to the time of the Teller amendment,
in 1898, and there are many who even now regard annexation as inevitable at
some future time, more or less distant. The plan appears as a suggestion
in a communication, under date of November 30, 1825, from Alexander
H. Everett, then Minister to Madrid, to President Adams. It crops up
repeatedly in various quarters in later years. It would be a difficult and
tedious undertaking to chase through all the diplomatic records of seventy
years the references to Cuba and its affairs.

From that period until the present time, the affairs of the island have
been a matter of constant interest and frequent anxiety in Washington. Fear
of British acquisition of the island appears to have subsided about 1860,
but there were in the island two groups, both relatively small, one of
them working for independence, and the other for annexation to the
United States. The great majority, however, desired some fair measure of
self-government, and relief from economic and financial burdens, under the
Spanish flag. The purchase of the island by the United States was proposed
by President Polk, in 1848; by President Pierce, in 1854; and by President
Buchanan, in his time. Crises appeared from time to time. Among them was
the incident of the _Black Warrior_, in 1854. Mr. Rhodes thus describes the
affair, in his _History of the United States_:

"_The Black Warrior_ was an American merchant steamer, plying between
Mobile and New York, stopping at Havana for passengers and mail. She had
made thirty-six such voyages, almost always having a cargo for the American
port, and never being permitted to bring freight into Havana. The custom
of her agent was to clear her 'in ballast' the day before her arrival. The
practice, while contrary to the regulations of Cuban ports, had always
been winked at by the authorities. It was well understood that the _Black
Warrior_ generally had a cargo aboard, but a detailed manifest of her load
had never been required. She had always been permitted to sail unmolested
until, when bound from Mobile to New York, she was stopped on the 28th of
February, 1854, by order of the royal exchequer, for having violated
the regulations of the port. The agent, finding that the cause of this
proceeding was the failure to manifest the cargo 'in transit,' offered to
amend the manifest, which under the rules he had a right to do; but this
the collector, on a flimsy pretext, refused to permit. The agent was at the
same time informed that the cargo was confiscated and the captain fined, in
pursuance of the custom-house regulations. The cargo was cotton, valued
at one hundred thousand dollars; and the captain was fined six thousand
dollars. The United States consul applied to the captain-general for
redress, but no satisfaction was obtained. A gang of men with lighters were
sent to the ship under the charge of the _commandante_, who ordered the
captain of the _Black Warrior_ to discharge her cargo. This he refused to
do. The _commandante_ then had the hatches opened, and his men began
to take out the bales of cotton. The captain hauled down his flag and
abandoned the vessel to the Spanish authorities."

The news of the incident created great excitement in Washington. President
Pierce sent a message to Congress, stating that demand had been made on
Spain for indemnity, and suggesting provisional legislation that would
enable him, if negotiations failed, "to insure the observance of our just
rights, to obtain redress for injuries received, and to vindicate the honor
of our flag."

Mr. Soule, then the American Minister to Madrid, was the official through
whom the negotiations were conducted. He was a man of somewhat impetuous
temperament, and an ardent advocate of Cuba's annexation. He quite
overstepped both the bounds of propriety and of his authority in his
submission, under instructions, of a demand for three hundred thousand
dollars indemnity. This, and Spanish diplomatic methods, led to delay, and
the excitement died out. In the meantime, Spain released the vessel and its
cargo, disavowed and disapproved the conduct of the local officials, paid
the indemnity claimed by the owners of the vessel, and the ship resumed its
regular trips, being treated with every courtesy when visiting Havana. But
the incident gave rise to active discussion, and for a time threatened
serious results. It followed on the heels of another experience, the Lopez
expeditions, to which reference is made in another chapter, and came at a
time when Cuba and Cuban affairs were topics of a lively public interest.
The subject of acquisition was under general public discussion and occupied
a large share of public attention. Some wanted war with Spain, and others
proposed the purchase of the island from Spain. But the immediate cause
of complaint having been removed by the release of the ship, Soule was
instructed to take no further steps in the matter, and the excitement
gradually passed away.

Immediately following this experience, and growing out of it, came the
incident of the "Ostend Manifesto." At that time, James Buchanan was
Minister to England. John Y. Mason was Minister to France, and Pierre Soule
was Minister to Spain. Secretary of State Marcy suggested a conference
between these three officials. They met at Ostend, but afterward
transferred their deliberations to Aix la Chapelle. The meeting attracted
general attention in Europe. The result of what they reported as "a full
and unreserved interchange of views and sentiments," was a recommendation
that an earnest effort be made immediately to purchase Cuba. They were of
opinion that the sum of one hundred and twenty million dollars be offered.
The report proceeded thus: "After we shall have offered Spain a price for
Cuba far beyond its present value, and this shall have been refused, it
will then be time to consider the question, does Cuba in the possession
of Spain seriously endanger our internal peace and the existence of our
cherished Union? Should this question be answered in the affirmative, then,
by every law, human and divine, we shall be justified in wresting it from
Spain if we possess the power; and this upon the very same principle that
would justify an individual in tearing down the burning house of his
neighbor if there were no other means of preventing the flame from
destroying his own home." It is evident that Soule dominated the meeting,
and only less evident that he, in some way, cajoled his associates
into signing the report. No action was taken on the matter by the
Administration, and the incident has passed into history somewhat, perhaps,
as one of the curiosities of diplomacy. At all events, all historians note
it, and some give it considerable attention.

The next serious complication arose out of the Ten Years' War, in Cuba,
in 1868, to which reference is made in a chapter on Cuba's revolutions.
Spain's leaders seemed quite incapable of grasping the Cuban situation, of
seeing it in its proper light. It is more than probable that, even then,
the Cubans would have remained loyal if the Spanish authorities had paid
attention to their just and reasonable demands. As stated by Mr. Pepper,
in his _Tomorrow in Cuba_, "The machete and the torch then gained what
peaceful agitation had not been able to achieve." The demands of the
Cubans are thus stated by Senor Cabrera, in his _Cuba and the Cubans_: "A
constitutional system in place of the autocracy of the Captain-General,
freedom of the press, the right of petition, cessation of the exclusion of
Cubans from public office, unrestricted industrial liberty, abolition of
restrictions on the transfer of landed property, the right of assembly and
of association, representation in the Cortes, and local self-government,"
all reasonable and just demands from every point of view of modern
civilization. Spain refused all, and on October 10, 1868, an actual
revolution began, the first in the history of the island to be properly
classed as a revolution. The United States soon became concerned and
involved. In his message to Congress on December 6, 1869, President Grant
said: "For more than a year, a valuable province of Spain, and a near
neighbor of ours, in whom all our people cannot but feel a deep interest,
has been struggling for independence and freedom. The people and the
Government of the United States entertain the same warm feelings and
sympathies for the people of Cuba in their pending struggle that they have
manifested throughout the previous struggles between Spain and her former
colonies (Mexico, Central America and South America) in behalf of the
latter. But the contest has at no time assumed the conditions which amount
to a war in the sense of international law, or which would show the
existence of a _de facto_ political organization of the insurgents
sufficient to justify a recognition of belligerency." On June 13, 1870,
President Grant sent a special message to Congress, in which he reviewed
the Cuban situation. Another reference appears in his message of December
5, 1870. In his message of December 4, 1871, he stated that "it is to be
regretted that the disturbed condition of the island of Cuba continues
to be a source of annoyance and anxiety. The existence of a protracted
struggle in such close proximity to our own territory, without apparent
prospect of an early termination, cannot be other than an object of concern
to a people who, while abstaining from interference in the affairs of other
powers, naturally desire to see every other country in the undisturbed
enjoyment of peace, liberty, and the blessings of free institutions." In
the message of December 2, 1872, he said: "It is with regret that I have
again to announce a continuance of the disturbed condition in the island of
Cuba. The contest has now lasted for more than four years. Were its scene
at a distance from our neighborhood, we might be indifferent to its result,
although humanity could not be unmoved by many of its incidents wherever
they might occur. It is, however, at out door." Reference was made to it in
all following annual messages, until President Hayes, in 1878, announced
its termination, ten years after its beginning. The contest had become
practically a deadlock, and a compromise was arranged by General Maximo
Gomez, for the Cubans, and General Martinez Campos, for Spain.

_Senate building on the right_]

The entanglements that grew out of the experiences of this period are too
long and too complicated for detailed review here. This country had no
desire for war with Spain, but approval of the Spanish policy in Cuba was
impossible. The sympathies of the American people were with the Cubans, as
they had been for fifty years, and as they continued to be until the end of
Spanish occupation in the West Indies. Rumors of all kinds were afloat, and
again and again the situation seemed to have reached a crisis that could be
ended only by war. A particularly aggravating incident appeared in what is
known as the _Virginius_ case. This was described as follows, in President
Grant's message to Congress on December 1, 1873.

"The steamer _Virginius_ was on the 26th day of September, 1870, duly
registered at the port of New York as a part of the commercial marine
of the United States. On the 4th of October, 1870, having received the
certificate of her register in the usual legal form, she sailed from
the port of New York, and has not since been within the territorial
jurisdiction of the United States. On the 31st day of October last (1873),
while sailing under the flag of the United States on the high seas, she was
forcibly seized by the Spanish gunboat _Tornado_, and was carried into the
port of Santiago de Cuba, where fifty-three of her passengers and crew were
inhumanly, and, so far at least as related to those who were citizens of
the United States, without due process of law, put to death."

Only for the timely arrival of the British man-of-war _Niobe_, and the
prompt and decisive action of her commander, there is no doubt that
ninety-three others would have shared the fate of their companions. Some
were Americans and some were British. The excitement in this country was
intense, and war with Spain was widely demanded. Further investigation
revealed the fact that the American registry was dishonest, that the ship
really belonged to or was chartered by Cubans, that it was engaged in
carrying supplies and munitions of war to the insurgents, and that its
right to fly the American flag was more than doubtful. The ship was seized
by the American authorities under a charge of violation of the maritime
laws of the United States, and was ordered to New York, for a trial of the
case. American naval officers were placed in command, but she was in bad
condition, and foundered in a gale near Cape Fear. As far as the vessel
was concerned, the incident was closed. There remained the question of
indemnity for what Caleb Cushing, then the American Minister to Spain, in
his communication to the Spanish authorities, denounced as "a dreadful,
a savage act, the inhuman slaughter in cold blood, of fifty-three human
beings, a large number of them citizens of the United States, shot without
lawful trial, without any valid pretension of authority, and to the horror
of the whole civilized world." England also filed its claim for the loss
of British subjects, and payment was soon after made "for the purpose of
relief of the families or persons of the ship's company and passengers." In
his _Cuba and International Relations_, Mr. Callahan says: "The catalogue
of irritating affairs in relation to Cuba, of which the _Virginius_ was
only the culmination, might have been urged as sufficient to justify a
policy of intervention to stop the stubborn war of extermination which had
been tolerated by peaceful neighbors for five years. Some would have been
ready to advocate intervention as a duty. The relations of Cuba to the
United States, the Spanish commercial restrictions which placed Cuba at
the mercy of Spanish monopolists, and the character of the Spanish rule,
pointed to the conclusion that if Spain should not voluntarily grant
reforms and guarantee pacification of the island, the United States might
be compelled, especially for future security, temporarily to occupy it and
assist in the organization of a liberal government based upon modern views.
Such action might have led to annexation, but not necessarily; it might
have led to a restoration of Spanish possession under restrictions as to
the character of Spanish rule, and as to the size of the Spanish army and
naval force in the vicinity; more likely it would have resulted in the
independence of Cuba under American protection."

These are only some of the more prominent features in fifty years of
American interest in Cuba. Throughout the entire period, the sympathies
of the American people were strongly pro-Cuban. Money and supplies were
contributed from time to time to assist the Cubans in their efforts to
effect a change in their conditions, either through modification of Spanish
laws, or by the road of independence. Only a minority of the Cubans sought
to follow that road at that time. The movement for independence was not
national until it was made so in 1895. What would have happened had we,
at the time of the Ten Years' War, granted to the Cubans the rights of
belligerents, is altogether a matter of speculation. Such a course was then
deemed politically inexpedient.



Only by magnifying protests into revolts, and riots into revolutions, is it
possible to show Cuba as the "land of revolutions" that many have declared
it to be. The truth is that from the settlement of the island in 1512 until
the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1898, there were only two experiences
that can, by any proper use of the term, be called revolutions. This
statement, of course, disputes a widely accepted notion, but many notions
become widely accepted because of assertions that are not contradicted.
That a strong undercurrent of discontent runs through all Cuba's history
from 1820 to 1895, is true. That there were numerous manifestations of that
discontent, and occasional attempts at revolution, is also true. But none
of these experiences, prior to 1868, reached a stage that would properly
warrant its description as a revolution. The term is very loosely applied
to a wide range of experiences. It is customary to class as revolution all
disorders from riots to rebellions. This is particularly the case where
the disorder occurs in some country other than our own. The _Standard
Dictionary_ defines the essential idea of revolution as "a change in the
form of government, or the constitution, or rulers, otherwise than
as provided by the laws of succession, election, etc." The _Century
Dictionary_ defines such proceedings as "a radical change in social or
governmental conditions; the overthrow of an established political system."
Many exceedingly interesting parallels may be drawn between the experience
of the American colonies prior to their revolution, in 1775, and the
experience of Cuba during the 19th Century. In fact, it may perhaps be
said that there is no experience in Cuba's history that cannot be fairly
paralleled in our own. In his _History of the United States_, Mr. Edward
Channing says: "The governing classes of the old country wished to exploit
the American colonists for their own use and behoof." Change the word
"American" to "Spanish," and the Cuban situation is exactly defined. The
situation in America in the 18th Century was almost identical with the
situation in Cuba in the 19th Century. Both, in those respective periods,
suffered from oppressive and restrictive trade laws and from burdensome
taxation, from subordination of their interests to the interests of the
people of a mother-country three thousand miles away. Unfortunately for the
Cubans, Spain was better able to enforce its exactions than England
was. Cuba's area was limited, its available harbors few in number, its
population small.

Not until the years immediately preceding the revolutions by which the
United States and Cuba secured their independence, was there any general
demand for definite separation from the mother-country. The desire in both
was a fuller measure of economic and commercial opportunity. One striking
parallel may be noted. The Tories, or "loyalists," in this country have
their counterpart in the Cuban _Autonomistas_. Referring to conditions in
1763, Mr. Channing states that "never had the colonists felt a greater
pride in their connection with the British empire." Among the great figures
of the pre-revolutionary period in this country, none stands out more
clearly than James Otis, of Boston, and Patrick Henry, of Virginia. In an
impassioned address, in 1763, Otis declared that "every British subject in
America is of common right, by acts of Parliament, and by the laws of God
and nature, entitled to all the essential privileges of Britons. What God
in his Providence has united let no man dare attempt to pull asunder."
Thirteen years later, the sundering blow was struck. Patrick Henry's
resolutions submitted to the Virginia House of Burgesses, in 1765, set
that colony afire, but at that time neither he nor his associates desired
separation and independence if their natural rights were recognized. It was
not until the revolution of 1895 that the independence of Cuba became a
national demand, a movement based on realization of the hopelessness of
further dependence upon Spain for the desired economic and fiscal relief.
As in the American colonies there appeared, from time to time, individuals
or isolated groups who demanded drastic action on the part of the
colonists, so were there Cubans who, from time to time, appeared with
similar demands. Nathaniel Bacon headed a formidable revolution in Virginia
in 1676. Massachusetts rebelled against Andros and Dudley in 1689. From the
passage of the Navigation Acts, in the middle of the 17th Century, until
the culmination in 1775, there was an undercurrent of friction and a
succession of protests. The Cuban condition was quite the same excepting
the fact of burdens more grievous and more frequent open outbreaks.

The records of many of the disorders are fragmentary. Spain had no desire
to give them publicity, and the Cubans had few means for doing so. The
_Report on the Census of Cuba_, prepared by the War Department of the
United States, in 1899, contains a summary of the various disorders in
the island. The first is the rioting in 1717, when Captain-General Roja
enforced the decree establishing a government monopoly in tobacco. The
disturbances in Haiti and Santo Domingo (1791-1800) resulting in the
establishment of independence in Haiti, under Toussaint, excited
unimportant uprisings on the part of negroes in Cuba, but they were quickly
suppressed. The first movement worthy of note came in 1823. It was
a consequence of the general movement that extended throughout
Spanish-America and resulted in the independence of all Spain's former
colonies, excepting Cuba and Porto Rico. That the influence of so vast a
movement should have been felt in Cuba was almost inevitable. As disorder
continued throughout much of the time, the period 1820-1830 is best
considered collectively. The same influences were active, and the same
forces were operative for the greater part of the term. The accounts of
it all are greatly confused, and several nations were involved, including
Spain, the United States, France, England, Mexico, and Colombia. The
slavery question was involved, as was the question of the transfer of the
island to some Power other than Spain. Independence was the aim of some,
though probably no very great number. Practically all of Cuba's later
experiences have their roots in this period. During these ten years, the
issue between Cubans who sought a larger national and economic life,
and the Spanish element that insisted upon the continuance of Spanish
absolutism, had its definite beginning, to remain a cause of almost
constant friction for three-quarters of a century. The Spanish Constitution
of 1812, abrogated in 1814, was again proclaimed in 1820, and again
abrogated in 1823. The effort of Captain-General Vives, acting under
orders from Ferdinand VII, to restore absolutism encountered both vigorous
opposition and strong support. Secret societies were organized, whose exact
purposes do not appear to be well known. Some have asserted that it was a
Masonic movement, while others have held that the organizations were
more in the nature of the _Carbonari_. One of them, called the _Soles de
Bolivar_, in some way gave its name to the immediate activities. It was
charged with having planned a rebellion against the government, but the
plans were discovered and the leaders were arrested. The movement appears
to have been widespread, with its headquarters in Matanzas. An uprising was
planned to take place on August 16, 1823, but on that day Jose Francisco
Lemus, the leader, and a number of his associates were arrested and
imprisoned. Among them was Jose Maria Heredia, the Cuban poet, who was,
for this offence, condemned, in 1824, to perpetual exile for the crime of

Others engaged in the conspiracy fled the country. Some were officially
deported. But the punishments imposed on these people served to excite
the animosity of many more, and a period of agitation followed, marked by
occasional outbreaks and rioting. To meet the situation, an army intended
to be employed in reconquering some of the colonies that had already
declared and established their independence, was retained on the island.
In 1825, a royal decree conferred on the Spanish Governor in Cuba a power
practically absolute. This excited still further the anger of the Cuban
element and led to other manifestations of discontent. There was a
combination of political agitation with revolutionary demonstrations.
In 1826, there was a local uprising in Puerto Principe, directed more
particularly against the Spanish garrison, whose conduct was regarded as
highly offensive. A year or two later, Cuban exiles in Mexico and Colombia,
with support from the people of those countries, organized a secret society
known as the "Black Eagle," having for its purpose a Cuban revolution. Its
headquarters were in Mexico, and its activities were fruitless. Many
were arrested and tried and sentenced to death or deportation. But Vives
realized the folly of adding more fuel to the flames, and the sentences
were in all cases either mitigated or revoked. This seems to have brought
that particular series of conspiracies to an end. It was a time of active
political agitation and conspiracy, with occasional local riots that were
quickly suppressed. While much of it was revolutionary in its aims and
purposes, none of it may with any fitness be called a revolution, unless
a prevalence of a lively spirit of opposition and rebellion is to be so
classed. The agitation settled down for a number of years, but broke out in
local spasms occasionally. There were riots and disorders, but that is not
revolution. It is to be remembered that the cause of all this disturbance
was, in the main, an entirely creditable sentiment, quite as creditable
as that which led the American colonists to resist the Stamp taxes and to
destroy tea. It was a natural and righteous protest against oppression, a
movement lasting for seventy-five years, for which Americans, particularly,
should award praise rather than blame or carping criticism. Having done, in
our own way, very much what the Cubans have done, in their way, we are not
free to condemn them. The only real difference is that their methods were,
on the whole, a little more strenuous than ours. Cuban blood was stirred
by the successful revolutions in Mexico and in Spanish South America, and
conditions in the island were contrasted with those in the then somewhat
new United States. Something of the part played by this country in the
experiences of the time is presented in another chapter, on the relations
of the two countries.

The next movement worthy of note came in 1849, if we omit the quarrel, in
1837, between General Tacon and his subordinate, General Lorenzo, and the
alleged proposal of the slaves in the neighborhood of Matanzas to rise
and slaughter all the whites. Neither of these quite belongs in the
revolutionary class. In 1847, a conspiracy was organized in the vicinity
of Cienfuegos. Its leader was General Narciso Lopez. The movement was
discovered, and some of the participants were imprisoned. Lopez escaped to
the United States where he associated himself with a group of Cuban exiles,
and opened correspondence with sympathizers in the island. They were joined
by a considerable number of adventurous Americans, inspired by a variety
of motives. The declared purpose of the enterprise was independence as the
alternative of reform in Spanish laws. An expedition was organized, but
the plans became known and President Taylor, on August 11, 1849, issued
a proclamation in which he declared that "an enterprise to invade the
territories of a friendly nation, set on foot and prosecuted within the
limits of the United States, is in the highest degree criminal." He
therefore warned all citizens of the United States who might participate in
such an enterprise that they would be subject to heavy penalties, and would
forfeit the protection of their country. He also called on "every officer
of this Government, civil or military, to use all efforts in his power to
arrest for trial and punishment every such offender against the laws." The
party was captured as it was leaving New York. The best evidence of the
time is to the effect that there was in Cuba neither demand for nor support
of such a movement, but Lopez and his associates, many of them Americans,
persisted. A second expedition was arranged, and a party of more than six
hundred men, many of them American citizens, assembled on the island of
Contoy, off the Yucatan coast, and on May 19, 1850, landed at Cardenas. But
there was no uprising on the part of the people. The Spanish authorities,
informed of the expedition, sent ships by sea and troops by land. After
a sharp skirmish, the invaders fled for their lives. Lopez and those who
escaped with him succeeded in reaching Key West. He went to Savannah, where
he was arrested but promptly liberated in response to public clamor. But
even this did not satisfy the enthusiastic liberator of a people who did
not want to be liberated in that way. He tried again in the following
year. On August 3, 1851, he sailed from near New Orleans, on the steamer
_Pampero_, in command of a force of about four hundred, largely composed
of young Americans who had been lured into the enterprise by assurance of
thrilling adventure and large pay. They landed near Bahia Honda, about
fifty miles west of Havana. Here, again, the Cubans refused to rise and
join the invaders. Here, again, they encountered the Spanish forces by whom
they were beaten and routed. Many were killed, some were captured, and
others escaped into the surrounding country and were captured afterward.
Lopez was among the captured. He was taken to Havana, and died by _garrote_
in the little fortress La Punta. His first officer, Colonel Crittenden, and
some fifty Americans were captured and taken to Atares, the fortress at the
head of Havana harbor, where they were shot. For that somewhat brutal act,
the United States could ask no indemnity. In violation of the laws of the
United States, they had invaded the territory of a nation with which the
country was at peace. In the initial issue of the _New York Times_, on
October 18, 1851, there appeared a review of the incident, presenting a
contemporaneous opinion of the experience. It was, in part, as follows:

"Nothing can be clearer than the fact that, for the present, at least,
the inhabitants of Cuba do not desire their freedom. The opinion has very
widely prevailed that the Cubans were grievously oppressed by their Spanish
rulers, and that the severity of their oppression alone prevented them from
making some effort to throw it off. The presence of an armed force in their
midst, however small, it was supposed would summon them by thousands to the
standard of revolt, and convert the colony into a free republic. Men high
in office, men who had lived in Cuba and were supposed to be familiar with
the sentiments of its people, have uniformly represented that they were
ripe for revolt, and desired only the presence of a small military band to
serve as a nucleus for their force. Believing that the Cuban population
would aid them, American adventurers enlisted and were ruined. They found
no aid. Not a Cuban joined them. They were treated as pirates and robbers
from the first moment of their landing. Nor could they expect any other
treatment in case of failure. They ceased to be American citizens the
moment they set out, as invaders, for the shores of Cuba."


The excitement of the Lopez incident was passing when it was revived,
in 1854, by the _Black Warrior_ experience, to which reference is made
elsewhere. Another invasion was projected by exuberant and adventurous
Americans. It was to sail from New Orleans under command of General
Quitman, a former Governor of the State of Mississippi. No secret was
made of the expedition, and Quitman openly boasted of his purposes, in
Washington. The reports having reached the White House, President Pierce
issued a proclamation warning "all persons, citizens of the United States
and others residing therein" that the General Government would not fail to
prosecute with due energy all those who presumed to disregard the laws of
the land and our treaty obligations. He charged all officers of the United
States to exert all their lawful power to maintain the authority and
preserve the peace of the country. Quitman was arrested, and put under
bonds to respect the neutrality laws. There was a limited uprising in
Puerto Principe, in 1851, and a conspiracy was revealed, in Pinar del Rio,
in 1852. A few years later the Liberal Club in Havana and the Cuban Junta
in New York were reported as raising money and organizing expeditions. Some
sailed, but they accomplished little, except as the activities appear as a
manifestation of the persistent opposition on the part of what was probably
only a small minority of the Cuban people. For several years, the unrest
and the agitation continued. Spain's blindness to the situation is
puzzling. In his _Cuba and International Relations_, Mr. Callahan says:
"Spain, after squandering a continent, had still clung tenaciously to Cuba;
and the changing governments which had been born (in Spain) only to be
strangled, held her with a taxing hand. While England had allowed her
colonies to rule themselves, Spain had persisted in keeping Cuba in the
same state of tutelage that existed when she was the greatest power in
the world, and when the idea of colonial rights had not developed." In
_Tomorrow in Cuba_, Mr. Pepper notes that "though the conception of
colonial home rule for Cuba was non-existent among the Spanish statesmen of
that day, the perception of it was clear on the part of the thinking
people of the island. The educated and wealthy Cubans who in 1865 formed
themselves into a national party and urged administrative and economic
changes upon Madrid felt the lack of understanding among Spanish statesmen.
The concessions asked were not a broad application of civil liberties. When
their programme was rejected in its entirety they ceased to ask favors.
They inaugurated the Ten Years' War." Regarding this action by the Cubans,
Dr. Enrique Jose Varona, a distinguished Cuban and a former deputy to the
Cortes, has stated that "before the insurrection of 1868, the reform party
which included the most enlightened, wealthy, and influential Cubans,
exhausted all the resources within their reach to induce Spain to initiate
a healthy change in her Cuban policy. The party started the publication of
periodicals in Madrid and in the island, addressed petitions, maintained a
great agitation throughout the country, and having succeeded in leading the
Spanish Government to make an inquiry into the economic, political, and
social conditions in Cuba, they presented a complete plan of government
which satisfied public requirements as well as the aspirations of the
people. The Spanish Government disdainfully cast aside the proposition as
useless, increased taxation, and proceeded to its exaction with extreme
severity." Here not seek its independence; the object was reform in
oppressive laws and in burdensome taxation, a measure of self-government,
under Spain, and a greater industrial and commercial freedom. It is most
difficult to understand the short-sightedness of the Spanish authorities.
The war soon followed the refusal of these entirely reasonable demands, and
the course of the Cubans is entirely to their credit. An acceptance of the
situation and a further submission would have shown them as contemptible.

The details of a conflict that lasted for ten years are quite impossible
of presentation in a few pages. Nor are they of value or interest to any
except special students who can find them elaborately set forth in many
volumes, some in Spanish and a few in English. Having tried once before to
cover this period as briefly and as adequately as possible, I can do no
better here than to repeat the story as told in an earlier work (_Cuba, and
the Intervention_). On the 10th of October, 1868, Carlos Manuel Cespedes
and his associates raised the cry of Cuban independence at Yara, in the
Province of Puerto Principe (now Camaguey). On the 10th of April, 1869,
there was proclaimed the Constitution of the Cuban Republic. During the
intervening months, there was considerable fighting, though it was largely
in the nature of guerrilla skirmishing. The Spanish Minister of State
asserted in a memorandum issued to Spain's representatives in other
countries, under date of February 3, 1876, that at the outbreak of the
insurrection Spain had 7,500 troops, all told, in Cuba. According to
General Sickels, at that time the American Minister to Spain, this number
was increased by reinforcements of 34,500 within the first year of the war.
The accuracy of this information, however, has been questioned. Prior
to the establishment of the so-called Republic, the affairs of the
insurrection were in the hands of an Assembly of Representatives. On
February 26, this body issued a decree proclaiming the abolition of slavery
throughout the island, and calling upon those who thus received their
freedom to "contribute their efforts to the independence of Cuba." During
the opening days of April, 1869, the Assembly met at Guiamaro. On the tenth
of that month a government was organized, with a president, vice-president,
general-in-chief of the army, secretaries of departments, and a parliament
or congress. Carlos Manuel Cespedes was chosen as President, and Manuel
de Quesada as General-in-Chief. A Constitution was adopted. Senor Morales
Lemus was appointed as minister to the United States, to represent the new
Republic, and to ask official recognition by the American Government. The
government which the United States was asked to recognize was a somewhat
vague institution. The insurrection, or revolution, if it may be so
called, at this time consisted of a nominal central government, chiefly
self-organized and self-elected, and various roving bands, probably
numbering some thousands in their aggregate, of men rudely and
incompetently armed, and showing little or nothing of military organization
or method.

Like all Cuban-Spanish wars and warfare, the destruction of property was a
common procedure. Some of the methods employed for the suppression of the
insurrection were not unlike those adopted by General Weyler in the later
war. At Bayamo, on April 4, 1869, Count Valmaseda, the Spanish Commandant
of that district, issued the following proclamation:

1. Every man, from the age of fifteen years upward, found away from his
place of habitation, who does not prove a justified reason therefor, will
be shot.

2. Every unoccupied habitation will be burned by the troops.

3. Every habitation from which no white flag floats, as a signal that its
occupants desire peace, will be reduced to ashes.

In the summer of 1869, the United States essayed a reconciliation and
an adjustment of the differences between the contestants. To this Spain
replied that the mediation of any nation in a purely domestic question was
wholly incompatible with the honor of Spain, and that the independence of
Cuba was inadmissible as a basis of negotiation. Heavy reinforcements were
sent from Spain, and the strife continued. The commerce of the island
was not greatly disturbed, for the reason that the great producing and
commercial centres lay to the westward, and the military activities were
confined, almost exclusively, to the eastern and central areas. In April,
1874, Mr. Fish, then Secretary of State, reported that "it is now more than
five years since the uprising (in Cuba) and it has been announced with
apparent authority, that Spain has lost upward of 80,000 men, and has
expended upward of $100,000,000, in efforts to suppress it; yet the
insurrection seems today as active and as powerful as it has ever been."
Spain's losses among her troops were not due so much to the casualties of
war as they were to the ravages of disease, especially yellow fever. The
process, in which both parties would appear to be about equally culpable,
of destroying property and taking life when occasion offered, proceedings
which are hardly to be dignified by the name of war, continued until the
beginning of 1878. Throughout the entire period of the war, the American
officials labored diligently for its termination on a basis that would give
fair promise of an enduring peace. Many questions arose concerning the
arrest of American citizens and the destruction of property of American
ownership. Proposals to grant the Cubans the rights of belligerents were
dismissed as not properly warranted by the conditions, and questions
arose regarding the supply of arms and ammunition, from this country, by
filibustering expeditions. References to Cuban affairs appear in many
presidential messages, and the matter was a subject of much discussion and
numerous measures in Congress. Diplomatic communication was constantly
active. In his message of December 7, 1875, President Grant said: "The past
year has furnished no evidence of an approaching termination of the ruinous
conflict which has been raging for seven years in the neighboring island
of Cuba. While conscious that the insurrection has shown a strength and
endurance which make it at least doubtful whether it be in the power of
Spain to subdue it, it seems unquestionable that no such civil organization
exists which may be recognized as an independent government capable of
performing its international obligations and entitled to be treated as one
of the powers of the earth." Nor did he then deem the grant of belligerent
rights to the Cubans as either expedient or properly warranted by the

In 1878, Martinez Campos was Governor-General of Cuba, and Maximo Gomez
was Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban forces. Both parties were weary of
the prolonged hostilities, and neither was able to compel the other to
surrender. Spain, however, professed a willingness to yield an important
part of the demands of her rebellious subjects. Martinez Campos and Gomez
met at Zanjon and, on February 10, 1878, mutually agreed to what has been
variously called a peace pact, a treaty, and a capitulation. The agreement
was based on provisions for a redress of Cuban grievances through greater
civil, political, and administrative privileges for the Cubans, with
forgetfulness of the past and amnesty for all then under sentence for
political offences. Delay in carrying these provisions into effect gave
rise to an attempt to renew the struggle two years later, but the effort
was a failure.

Matters then quieted down for a number of years. The Cubans waited to see
what would be done. The Spanish Governor-General still remained the supreme
power and, aside from the abolition of slavery, the application of the
Spanish Constitution and Spanish laws to Cuba, and Cuban representation
in the Cortes, much of which was rather form than fact, the island gained
little by the new conditions. Discontent and protest continued and, at
last, broke again into open rebellion in 1895.

The story of that experience is told in another chapter. In 1906, there
came one of the most deplorable experiences in the history of the island,
the first and only discreditable revolution. The causes of the experience
are not open to our criticism. Our own records show too much of precisely
the same kind of work, illegal registration, ballot box stuffing, threats
and bribery. The first election in the new Republic was carried with only
a limited and somewhat perfunctory opposition to the candidacy of Estrada
Palma. Before the second election came, in 1905, he allied himself
definitely with an organization then known as the Moderate party. The
opposition was known as the Liberal party. Responsibility for the
disgraceful campaign that followed rests on both, almost equally. The
particular difference lies in the fact that, the principal offices having
been given to adherents of the Moderates, they were able to control both
registration and election proceedings. But the methods employed by the
opposition were no less censurable. Realizing defeat, the Liberals withdrew
from the field, by concerted action, on the day of the election, and the
Moderates elected every one of their candidates. Naturally, a feeling of
bitter resentment was created, and there came, in the spring of 1906,
rumors of armed revolt. In August, an actual insurrection was begun.
Disgruntled political leaders gathered formidable bands in Pinar del Rio
and in Santa Clara provinces. President Palma became seriously alarmed,
even actually frightened. Through the United States Consul-General in
Havana, he sent urgent appeals to Washington for naval and military aid.
Mr. Taft, then Secretary of War, and Mr. Bacon, the Assistant Secretary of
State, were sent to Havana to investigate and report on the situation. They
arrived in Havana on September 19. After ten days of careful and thorough
study, and earnest effort to effect an adjustment, a proclamation was
issued declaring the creation of a provisional government. This was
accepted by both parties and the insurgent bands dispersed. Charles E.
Magoon was sent down as Provisional Governor. Americans who are disposed to
censure the Cubans for this experience in their history, may perhaps turn
with profit to some little experiences in the history of their own country
in its political infancy, in 1786 and 1794. Those incidents do not relieve
the Cubans of the censure to which they are open, but they make it a
little difficult for us to condemn them with proper grace and dignity. The
provisional government continued until January 28, 1909, when control was
turned over to the duly elected officials, they being the same who withdrew
from the polls, acknowledging defeat, in the election of 1905.



Cuba's final movement for independence began on February 24, 1895. Under
the treaty of Zanjon, executed in 1878, Spain agreed to grant to the Cubans
such reforms as would remove their grounds of complaint, long continued.
The Cubans denied that the terms of the agreement had been kept. Those
terms are indicated in a statement submitted by Tomas Estrada y Palma to
Richard Olney, then Secretary of State of the United States. It bore the
date of December 7, 1895. The communication sets forth, from the Cuban
point of view, of course, the causes of the revolution of 1895. It says:

"These causes are substantially the same as those of the former revolution,
lasting from 1868 to 1878, and terminating only on the representation of
the Spanish Government that Cuba would be granted such reforms as
would remove the grounds of complaint on the part of the Cuban people.
Unfortunately the hopes thus held out have never been realized. The
representation which was to be given the Cubans has proved to be absolutely
without character; taxes have been levied anew on everything conceivable;
the offices in the island have increased, but the officers are all
Spaniards; the native Cubans have been left with no public duties
whatsoever to perform, except the payment of taxes to the Government and
blackmail to the officials, without privilege even to move from place to
place in the island except on the permission of government authority.

"Spain has framed laws so that the natives have substantially been deprived
of the right of suffrage. The taxes levied have been almost entirely
devoted to support the army and navy in Cuba, to pay interest on the debt
that Spain has saddled on the island, and to pay the salaries of the vast
number of Spanish office holders, devoting only $746,000 for internal
improvements out of the $26,000,000 collected by tax. No public schools are
in reach of the masses for their education. All the principal industries
of the island are hampered by excessive imposts. Her commerce with every
country but Spain has been crippled in every possible manner, as can
readily be seen by the frequent protests of shipowners and merchants.

"The Cubans have no security of person or property. The judiciary are
instruments of the military authorities. Trial by military tribunals can be
ordered at any time at the will of the Captain-General. There is, besides,
no freedom of speech, press, or religion. In point of fact, the causes of
the Revolution of 1775 in this country were not nearly as grave as those
that have driven the Cuban people to the various insurrections which
culminated in the present revolution."

Spain, of course, denied these charges, and asserted that the agreement had
been kept in good faith. The Spanish Government may have been technically
correct in its claim that all laws necessary to the fulfillment of its
promises had been enacted. But it seems entirely certain that they had not
been made effective. The conditions of the Cubans were in no way improved
and, some time before the outbreak, they began preparations for armed
resistance. In _Cuba and the Intervention_ (published in 1905) I have
already written an outline review of the experience of the revolution, and
I shall here make use of extracts from that volume. The notable leader
and instigator of the movement was Jose Marti, a patriot, a poet, and a
dreamer, but a man of action. He visited General Maximo Gomez at his home
in Santo Domingo, where that doughty old warrior had betaken himself after
the conclusion of the Ten Years' War. Gomez accepted the command of the
proposed army of Cuban liberation. Antonio Maceo also accepted a command.
He was a mulatto, an able and daring fighter, whose motives were perhaps a
compound of patriotism, hatred of Spain, and a love for the excitement of
warfare. Others whose names are written large in Cuba's history soon joined
the movement. A _junta_, or committee, was organized with headquarters in
New York. After the death of Marti, this was placed in charge of Tomas
Estrada y Palma, who afterward became the first President of the new
Republic. Its work was to raise funds, obtain and forward supplies and
ammunition, and to advance the cause in all possible ways. There were legal
battles to be fought by and through this organization, and Mr. Horatio S.
Rubens, a New York lawyer, was placed in charge of that department. The
twenty-fourth of February was set for the beginning of activities, but arms
were lacking, and while the movement was actually begun on that day, the
operations of the first six weeks or so were limited to numerous local
uprisings of little moment. But the local authorities became alarmed, and
martial law was proclaimed in Santa Clara and Matanzas provinces on the
27th. Spain became alarmed also, and immediately despatched General
Martinez Campos as Governor-General of the island, to succeed General
Calleja. He assumed command on April 16. Maceo and his associates, among
them his brother Jose, also a fighter of note, landed from Costa Rica
on April 1. Marti, Gomez, and others, reached the island on the 11th.
Meanwhile, Bartolome Maso, an influential planter in Oriente, had been in
command of the forces in his vicinity. Many joined, and others stood ready
to join as soon as they could be equipped. Engagements with the Spanish
troops soon became a matter of daily occurrence, and Martinez Campos
realized that a formidable movement was on. Spain hurried thousands of
soldiers to the island.

For the first five months, the insurgents kept their opponents busy with an
almost uninterrupted series of little engagements, a guerrilla warfare. In
one of these, on May 19, Jose Marti was killed. His death was a severe blow
to the patriots, but it served rather to inspire a greater activity than
to check the movement. His death came in the effort of a small band of
insurgents to pass the Spanish cordon designed to confine activities to
Oriente Province. Immediately after the death of Marti, Maximo Gomez
crossed that barrier and organized an army in Camaguey. The first
engagement properly to be regarded as a battle occurred at Peralejo, near
Bayamo, in Oriente, about the middle of July. The respective leaders were
Antonio Maceo and General Martinez Campos, in person. The victory fell to
Maceo, and Martinez Campos barely eluded capture. The engagements of the
Ten Years' War were confined to the then sparsely settled eastern half of
the island. Those of the revolution of 1895 covered the greater part of the
island, sweeping gradually but steadily from east to west. During my first
visit to Cuba, I was frequently puzzled by references to "the invasion."
"What invasion?" I asked, "Who invaded the country?" I found that it meant
the westward sweep of the liberating army under Gomez and Maceo. It
covered a period of more than two years of frequent fighting and general
destruction of property. Early in the operations Gomez issued the following


Najasa, Camaguey, July 1, 1895.


_In accord with the great interests of the revolution for the independence
of the country, and for which we are in arms_:

WHEREAS, _all exploitations of any product whatsoever are aids and
resources to the Government that we are fighting, it is resolved by the
general-in-chief to issue this general order throughout the island, that
the introduction of articles of commerce, as well as beef and cattle,
into the towns occupied by the enemy, is absolutely prohibited. The sugar
plantations will stop their labors, and those who shall attempt to grind
the crop notwithstanding this order, will have their cane burned and their
buildings demolished. The person who, disobeying this order, shall try to
profit from the present situation of affairs, will show by his conduct
little respect for the rights of the revolution of redemption, and
therefore shall be considered as an enemy, treated as a traitor, and tried
as such in case of his capture_.

(_Signed_) MAXIMO GOMEZ,
The General-in-Chief.

This proved only partially effective, and it was followed by a circular to
commanding officers, a few months later, reading thus:


Territory of Sancti Spiritus, November 6, 1895.

_Animated by the spirit of unchangeable resolution in defence of the rights
of the revolution of redemption of this country of colonists, humiliated
and despised by Spain, and in harmony with what has been decreed concerning
the subject in the circular dated the 1st of July, I have ordered the

ARTICLE I. _That all plantations shall be totally destroyed, their cane and
outbuildings burned, and railroad connections destroyed_.

ARTICLE II. _All laborers who shall aid the sugar factories--these sources
of supplies that we must deprive the enemy of--shall be considered as
traitors to their country_.

ARTICLE III. _All who are caught in the act, or whose violation of Article
II shall be proven, shall be shot. Let all chiefs of operations of the army
of liberty comply with this order, determined to furl triumphantly, even
over ruin and ashes, the flag of the Republic of Cuba_.

_In regard to the manner of waging the war, follow the private instructions
that I have already given_.

_For the sake of the honor of our arms and your well-known courage and
patriotism, it is expected that you will strictly comply with the above

_(Signed)_ MAXIMO GOMEZ,

To peace-loving souls, all this sounds very brutal, but all war is brutal
and barbarous. In our strife in the Philippines, from 1899 to 1902, many of
us were proud to be told that we were conducting a "humane war." There is
no such thing. The very terms are contradictory. Gomez had declared that
if Spain would not give up Cuba to the Cubans, the Cubans would themselves
render the island so worthless and desolate a possession that Spain could
not afford to hold it. Short of further submission to a rule that was, very
rightly, regarded as no longer endurable, no other course was open to them.
Another proclamation appeared a few days later.


Sancti Spiritus, November 11 1895.


_The painful measure made necessary by the revolution of redemption
drenched in innocent blood from Hatuey to our own times by cruel and
merciless Spain will plunge you in misery. As general-in-chief of the army
of liberation, it is my duty to lead it to victory, without permitting
myself to be restrained or terrified, by any means necessary to place Cuba
in the shortest time in possession of her dearest ideal. I therefore place
the responsibility for so great a ruin on those who look on impassively and
force us to those extreme measures which they then condemn like dolts and
hypocrites as they are. After so many years of supplication, humiliation,
contumely, banishment, and death, when this people, of its own will, has
arisen in arms, there remains no solution but to triumph, it matters not
what means are employed to accomplish it_.

_This people cannot hesitate between the wealth of Spain and the liberty
of Cuba. Its greatest crime would be to stain the land with blood without
effecting its purposes because of puerile scruples and fears which do not
concur with the character of the men who are in the field, challenging the
fury of an army which is one of the bravest in the world, but which in this
war is without enthusiasm or faith, ill-fed and unpaid. The war did not
begin February 24; it is about to begin now_.

_The war had to be organized; it was necessary to calm and lead into
the proper channels the revolutionary spirit always exaggerated in the
beginning by wild enthusiasm. The struggle ought to begin in obedience to a
plan and method more or less studied, as the result of the peculiarities of
this war. This has already been done. Let Spain now send her soldiers to
rivet the chains on her slaves; the children of this land are in the field,
armed with the weapons of liberty. The struggle will be terrible, but
success will crown the revolution and the efforts of the oppressed_.

(_Signed_) MAXIMO GOMEZ,

Such an address doubtless savors of bombast to many Americans, but in the
history of political and military oratory in their own land they can find
an endless number of speeches that, in that particular quality, rival if
they do not surpass it. The Cuban situation was desperate, and the Cuban
attitude was one of fixed determination. Productive industry was generally
suppressed, and much property was destroyed, by both Cubans and Spaniards.
This necessarily threw many out of employment, and drove them into the
insurgent ranks. The Cubans are a peaceful people. All desired relief from
oppressive conditions, but many did not want war. While many entered the
army from patriotic motives, many others were brought into it only as a
consequence of conditions created by the conflict. The measures adopted
were severe, but decision of the contest by pitched battles was quite
impossible. The quoted figures are somewhat unreliable, but the Spanish
forces outnumbered the Cubans by at least five to one, and they could
obtain freely the supplies and ammunition that the Cubans could obtain only
by filibustering expeditions. The Cubans, therefore, adopted a policy, the
only policy that afforded promise of success. Spain poured in fresh troops
until, by the close of 1895, its army is reported as numbering 200,000 men.

The Cubans carried the contest westward from Oriente and Camaguey, through
Santa Clara, and into the provinces of Matanzas, Havana, and Pinar del Rio.

[Illustration: ALONG THE HARBOR WALL _Havana_]

The _trocha_ across the island, from Jucaro on the south to Moron on the
north, originally constructed during the Ten Years' War, was a line of
blockhouses, connected by barbed wire tangles, along a railway. This
obstructed but did not stop the Cuban advance. The authorities declared
martial law in the provinces of Havana and Pinar del Rio on January 2,
1896. Gomez advanced to Marianao, at Havana's very door, and that city was
terrified. Maceo was operating immediately beyond him in Pinar del Rio,
through the most important part of which he swept with torch and machete.
The Spaniards built a _trocha_ there from Mariel southward. Maceo crossed
it and continued his work of destruction, in which large numbers of the
people of the region joined. He burned and destroyed Spanish property;
the Spaniards, in retaliation, burned and destroyed property belonging to
Cubans. Along the highway from Marianao to Guanajay, out of many stately
country residences, only one was left standing. Villages were destroyed and
hamlets were wrecked. On one of his expeditions in December, 1896, Maceo
was killed near Punta Brava, within fifteen miles of Havana. Gomez planned
this westward sweep, from Oriente, six hundred miles away, but to Antonio
Maceo belongs a large part of the credit for its execution. The weakness of
the Ten Years' War was that it did not extend beyond the thinly populated
region of the east; Gomez and Maceo carried their war to the very gates of
the Spanish strongholds. There were occasional conflicts that might well be
called battles, but much of it was carried on by the Cubans by sudden and
unexpected dashes into Spanish camps or moving columns, brief but sometimes
bloody encounters from which the attacking force melted away after
inflicting such damage as it could. Guerrilla warfare is not perhaps a
respectable method of fighting. It involves much of what is commonly
regarded as outlawry, of pillage and of plunder, of destruction and
devastation. These results become respectable only when attained through
conventional processes, and are in some way supposed to be ennobled by
those processes. But they sometimes become the only means by which the weak
can meet the strong. Such they seemed to be in the Cuban revolt against
the Spaniards, when Maximo Gomez and Antonio Maceo made guerrilla warfare
almost a military science. Gomez formulated his plan of campaign, but, with
the means at his disposal, its successful execution was possible only by
the methods adopted. At all events, it succeeded. The Cubans were not
strong enough to drive Spain out of the island by force of arms, but they
showed themselves unconquerable by the Spanish troops. They had once
carried on a war for ten years in a limited area; by the methods adopted,
they could repeat that experience practically throughout the island. They
could at least keep insurrection alive until Spain should yield to their
terms, or until the United States should be compelled to intervene. No
great movements, but constant irritation, and the suspension of all
industry, was the policy adopted and pursued for the year 1897.

But there was another side to it all, a different line of activity.
Immediately after his arrival on the island, on April 11, 1895, Marti
had issued a call for the selection of representatives to form a civil
government. He was killed before this was effected. An assembly met, at
Jimaguayu, in Camaguey, on September 13, 1895. It consisted of twenty
members, representing nearly all parts of the island. Its purpose was the
organization of a Cuban Republic. On the 16th, it adopted a Constitution
and, on the 18th, elected, as President, Salvador Cisneros Betancourt, and
as Vice-President, Bartolome Maso. Secretaries and sub-secretaries were
duly chosen, and all were formally installed. Maximo Gomez was officially
appointed as General-in-Chief of the army, with Antonio Maceo as Lieutenant
General. Tomas Estrada y Palma was chosen as delegate plenipotentiary
and general agent abroad, with headquarters in New York. Both civil and
military organizations were, for a time, crude and somewhat incoherent. It
could not be otherwise. They were engaged in a movement that could only
succeed by success. Arms and money were lacking. The civil government was
desirable in a field that the military arm could not cover. Action lay with
the military and with the Cuban Junta in the United States. The latter
organization immediately became active. Calls were made for financial
assistance and liberal responses were made, chiefly by Cubans. In 1896
and 1897, bonds were issued and sold, or were exchanged for supplies and
munitions of war. For a number of years scandalous stories were afloat
declaring that these bonds were printed by the acre, and issued, purely for
speculative purposes, to the extent of millions upon millions of dollars.
The truth is that every bond printed, whether issued or unissued, has been
fully accounted for, the actual issue being about $2,200,000. Provision was
made in Cuba's Constitution for the recognition of this indebtedness, and
it has since been discharged, while the plates and the unused bonds have
been destroyed. There may have been speculation in the bonds, as there was
in the bonds issued by the United States during the Civil War, but Cuba's
conduct in the whole matter has been honest and most honorable. In that
matter certainly, its detractors have been confounded. The principal
difficulty encountered by the _junta_ was the despatch to Cuba of the men
and the munitions so greatly needed by those in the field. That, however,
is a story that I shall endeavor to tell, in part, in another chapter. It
cannot now, if ever, be told in full.

Meanwhile, a complicated political situation developed. The story is too
long and too complicated for review in detail. It may be given in general
outline. The Peace of 1878 was followed by the organization of political
parties, the Liberal and the Union Constitutional. At first, there was
comparatively little difference in the essence of their respective
platforms, but the lines diverged as the situation developed. The Liberal
party became, and remained, the Cuban party, and the Union Constitutional
became the Spanish party. Later on, the Liberals became the Autonomists.
Their object, for twenty years, was reform in conditions under the rule of
Spain. There was no independence party. That was organized, in 1895, by
Marti, Gomez, Maceo, Maso, and their associates. It had only one plank in
its platform--_Cuba Libre y Independiente_--whatever the cost to the island
and its people. "The Autonomist group," says Mr. Pepper, in his _Tomorrow
in Cuba_, "became as much a political party as it could become under
Spanish institutions." It grew in strength and influence, and continued its
agitation persistently and stubbornly. The Spanish Cortes busied itself
with discussion of Cuban affairs, but reached no conclusions, produced no
results. In 1893, there came the definite organization of the Reformist
party, with aims not differing greatly from those of the _Autonomistas_.
But Spain delayed until Marti and his followers struck their blow. Official
efforts to placate them failed utterly, as did efforts to intimidate them
or to conquer them. The Autonomists declared their support of the existing
Government, and rebuked the insurgents in a _manifesto_ issued on April 4,
1895, six weeks after the outbreak. They only succeeded in antagonizing
both sides, the Spanish authorities and the revolutionists. Spain, greatly
alarmed, recalled Martinez Campos and sent out Weyler to succeed him.
Had Spain followed the advice of Martinez Campos, the failure of the
insurrection would have been little short of certain. It sent out Weyler,
on whom the Cubans, twenty years earlier, had conferred the title of
"Butcher." This step threw to the side of the insurgents the great mass
of the middle class Cubans who had previously wavered in uncertainty,
questioning the success of revolution while adhering to its general
object. Weyler instituted the brutal policy that came to be known as
reconcentration. It may be said, in a way, that the Cuban forces themselves
instituted this policy. To clear the country in which they were operating,
they had ordered all Spaniards and Spanish sympathizers to betake
themselves to the cities and towns occupied by Spanish garrisons. This was
inconvenient for its victims, but its purpose was humane. Gomez also sought
to concentrate the Cubans, particularly the women and children, in the
recesses of the hills where they would be less exposed to danger than they
would be in their homes. This also was a humane purpose.

Weyler's application of this policy was utterly brutal. The people of the
country were herded in prison camps, in settlements surrounded by stockades
or trenches beyond which they might not pass. No provision was made for
their food or maintenance. The victims were non-combatants, women, and
children. In his message of December, 1897, President McKinley said of
this system, as applied by Weyler, "It was not civilized warfare; it was
extermination. The only peace it could beget was that of the wilderness
and the grave." In my experience as a campaign correspondent in several
conflicts, I have necessarily seen more or less of gruesome sights,
the result of disease and wounds, but I have seen nothing in any way
comparable, in horror and pitifulness, to the victims of this abominable
system. To describe their condition in detail would be little short of
offensive, those groups of hopeless, helpless sufferers who lingered only
until death came and kindly put them out of their misery and pain. But by
this time, two forces had come into active operation, dire alarm in Spain
and wrath and indignation in the United States. Weyler had failed as
Martinez Campos, when leaving the island, predicted. He was recalled, and
was succeeded, on October 31, 1897, by General Blanco. The new incumbent
tried conciliation, but it failed. The work had gone too far. The party in
the field had become the dominant party, not to be suppressed either by
force of arms or by promises of political and economic reform. At last,
Spain yielded. Outside pressure on Madrid, chiefly from the United States,
prevailed. A scheme for Cuban autonomy was devised and, on January 1,
1898, was put into effect. But it came too late. It was welcomed by many
non-participants in the war, and a form of government was organized under
it. But the party then dominant, the army in the field, distrusted the
arrangement and would have none of it. All overtures were rejected and
the struggle continued. On February 15, 1898, came the disaster to the
battleship _Maine_, in the harbor of Havana. On April 11th, President
McKinley's historic message went to Congress, declaring that "the only hope
of relief and repose from a condition which can no longer be endured is the
enforced pacification of Cuba," and asking for power and authority to use
the military and naval forces of the United States to effect a termination
of the strife in Cuba. Such, in the briefest possible outline, is the
record of this eventful period, eventful alike for Cuba and for the United

During this struggle, the people of the United States became deeply
interested in the affairs of the island, and the Administration in
Washington became gravely concerned by them. A preceding chapter, on the
United States and Cuba, dropped the matter of the relations of this country
to the island at the end of the Ten Years' War, but the relations were by
no means dropped, nor were they even suspended. The affairs of the island
appear again and again in diplomatic correspondence and in presidential
messages. The platform of the Republican party, adopted at the national
convention in St. Louis, on June 18, 1896, contained the following: "From
the hour of achieving their own independence, the people of the United
States have regarded with sympathy the struggles of other American peoples
to free themselves from European domination. We watch with deep and abiding
interest the heroic battle of the Cuban patriots against cruelty and
oppression, and our best hopes go out for the full success of their
determined contest for liberty. The Government of Spain having lost control
of Cuba and being unable to protect the property or lives of resident
American citizens, or to comply with its treaty obligations, we believe
that the Government of the United States should actively use its influence
and good offices to restore peace and give independence to the island."
The Democratic party platform of the same year stated that "we extend our
sympathy to the people of Cuba in their heroic struggle for liberty and
independence." The platform of the People's party likewise expressed
sympathy, and declared the belief that the time had come when "the United
States should recognize that Cuba is and of right ought to be a free and
independent State." This may be regarded as the almost unanimous opinion of
the people of this country at that time. In 1896 and 1897 many resolutions
were introduced in the Congress urging action for the recognition of Cuban
independence. There was frequent and prolonged debate on the question, but
no final action was taken. In his message of December, 1897, President
McKinley said: "Of the untried measures (regarding Cuba) there remain
only: Recognition of the insurgents as belligerents; recognition of the
independence of Cuba; neutral intervention to end the war by imposing a
rational compromise between the contestants; and intervention in favor of


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